simplicity is complex.

I am in the midst of reading a wonderful book called Three Cups of Tea. If you haven’t read it, you should. It tells a compelling and challenging story of a mountain climber named Greg Mortenson who takes notice of a small village in Pakistan after a failed K2 expedition and decides, almost in a moment, that he is going to do whatever it takes to build a school for this village. He turns his entire existence from that moment into a journey to fulfill that promise, then goes above and beyond by continuing to build hundreds of schools in that region of SE Asia.

This story, and this man, are inspiring to me in more ways than one. Of course, there’s the question of what I am doing with my life and whether it is truly meaningful. But that’s a topic I’m going to take a break from for the moment. I have also been struck time and time again by how this man lived so simply; both in terms of his material belongings and in terms of his way of living.

Simplicity is something I have been thinking about and pretending to strive for for some time. When I fail, I chalk it up to society: living in America distinctly undermines my endeavors to create a streamlined, unhindered existence. Every time I take a step forward, I look around at my friends, on TV, or at the bustling life around me and flounder. I think I need to keep up; I put the wrong things in the priority spot. I prize my appearance, my home, my career, even my facebook page for crying out loud! above what I am doing for Christ and for the world.

In my heart, I would so much rather my life and my stuff be pleasing to God. I would rather not be held down by upward mobility, by needing approval, or by materialism. So why do I let them get in the way?

On a practical level, our lives are about to get much, much more simple. Two people living on one meager salary while paying for grad school is going to get tricky; we’re going to have to get creative. Creative to the point that I don’t think I’m yet comfortable. I can blame my upbringing and my culture, but ultimately I’m the one that has to change.

So how do we do it? How do we take what the world is throwing at us and turn our eyes upward, to the only standard that matters? How do you make your life simple?

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” Phillipians 3:7-8

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