Simplicity, Complexity

There is simple life and complex life. Much of life seems to move from the former to the latter.

Regardless of your current age you will likely come to the conclusion that things were simpler, rather easy overall when you were younger. So how is it that things get so complex?

In a phrase, by taking on more responsibility.

The young don’t much consider (and often avoid) it because of the inconvenience of thinking about details one isn’t all that interested in. School, homework, yardwork, cleaning one’s room, laundry, washing the car, getting and if possible, keeping or advancing in some sort of job where your needs are met are in a word, work.

Then of course comes paying rent or mortgage, banking, insurance, on and on it goes.

With marriage you will rightly share responsibility but then come negotiations and sometimes arguments over who does what when, how much for this, can we afford (no) that, etc., etc..

Kids magnify all this. Taking a second job, even part-time or on weekends to suppliment income may be part of the situation. All of this adds to the weight of responsibility.

Please know, there IS joy in relationships and work, but there is also effort and expense. There is emotional, physical and time investment. And sadly, there are failings, breakups, job loss, sickness and even natural disasters of which we did not foresee. Complications.

If you add this or that hobby (good when in moderation which many of us struggle with…), mix in unexpected trauma of illness, maybe family issues of some sort, perhaps an addiction or two -it’s not all that difficult to understand how things can spiral out of control. So many more details to navigate than when you were younger and pretty carefree.

When I see the FaceBook “it’s complicated” quotes I usually laugh -because most all relationships get that way over time. Certainly the three, four and five dimensional life as I describe it above all serves to put a concept like “simplicity” on a back burner. Speaking of which- did you remember to turn coffeepot and stove off before you left for work??

Some complexity and accompanying burden has to do with our desire, some with the wants or needs or at least perceived needs others have that in some way involve us.

And you see I now shift from “you” to “us”.

What I’ve described is what Val Kilmer playing Doc Holliday in “Tombstone” simply called “Life”. “It’s just life Wyatt”.

I would only beg to differ in the sense that life with my Risen Savior makes it better if not easier.

In fact I’d say a genuine Christ follower (as Tozer wrote) “will always have the wind in his/her face”.

In no way do I mean that in terms of politics or the like. I simply mean we don’t only “live for today” or “for here and now” on earth as we believe in a literal heaven, a genuine, personal God Who loves us and regardless of the burdens in “this veil of tears”, the complexities and struggles, pain and injustices of this mortal existence, it ain’t even CLOSE to the “end” when we die.

This is partly why un (or “pre”) believers think we’re crazy to believe and follow a God we’ve never -seen-, care about biblical words like “obey” and “obedience”, sometimes talk about surrender and “dying to self” and even in some cases end up suffering martyrdom.

One doesn’t get up on a given morning and decide to complicate their life!

Neither myself nor anyone reading this plans on enjoying a battle with cancer, or a car crash, having to hear what may be quite shocking news about one’s loved one or a friend who after 30 years left their spouse or committed suicide, etc..

Yes, life gets complicated and likely moreso as one ages.

We learn we aren’t “bullet proof”, that our energy isn’t unlimited, that we cannot eat nor play in quite the way we did when we were young or we pay a negative price.

I write all this in a backdrop of a good friend phoning me today who is dealing with heavy family trouble, another friend battling life-long addictions, an older bro. who just spent his first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and his wife’s birthday for the first time without her as she died last year.

This morning at church I hugged another good friend who dealt with the same loss.

Another friend emailed myself and others asking for prayer for his dear Mother who may well pass soon.

So the realities of life can indeed be tough, disheartening and crowd plenty of details into your mind, emotions and even nightly dreams.

I have found my relationship to Jesus, my dear wife Wendi and a good group of godly, gracious friends to be the ticket to see me through the storms. But indeed, to again quote A. W. Tozer, “cultivate simplicity” is not always the simplest thing to do 🙂

This is where short and even longer breaks, retreats or date nights are helpful.

We cannot always slow down or keep it simple, but it’s a gift when we pray, stop and consider how to organize and as possible, do so, regardless of age, issues or time.

Slice of life stuff to think about!

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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2 thoughts on “Simplicity, Complexity

  1. Thanks, Glenn. As I read this, which I realize you wrote awhile ago, I am in the midst of an argument with my wife about the state of our house, about duties, who does what when, etc. As you say, it’s complicated. I love her and I love the Lord. It doesn’t solve everything, but I know I need to be more selfless, to die to myself. Easier said than done, not just complicated, but impossible without the grace He gives.

    • Thanks and you are welcome. And boy do I get that. Read a quote this evening from somewhere (lot of reading tonight) that said essentially that we cannot really understand how selfish we can be until we are married. After 42 amazing, blessed years, I still have to repent just about daily for the self-centered clown I can be. Mercy! Sow it, reap it, thank God for it! Grace for sure. Thanks again. -Glenn

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