Reflecting on Simplicity: Forcing Ourselves to Sabbath
It’s common to hear that with each generation, we have shorter and shorter attention spans. Perhaps there is some truth in that, but I think that along with saying something like that, we have to also realize that with each generation, there are more and more distractions. Endless streaming services, computer in our pockets, not to mention the fact that work hours can feel never-ending because we can be reached at all times. Twenty-four hour news, countless opinions to listen to, intramural sports for the kids, on and on and on. The distractions never end.
In our day and age, when we want to practice something like simplicity, a crucial spiritual discipline, we have to be very intentional about forcing ourselves to Sabbath. Like most things, this is, of course, easier said than done. But picking one day a week (preferably one where you don’t have to work!) to live an intentionally more simplistic life and routine can be immensely helpful. When we try to practice a Sabbath day, we should be doing our best to remove things from our stressful day; don’t think, “Great, I’ve got a day of rest, so I can work on the garden!” While a beautiful garden is God-honoring in its own way, its not a part of this sort of practice. Don’t try to catch up on housework, or shows, or just scroll your phone. In fact, many phones have an option to limit how much time you spend on apps. I had Molly create a secret password so that I couldn’t override my own time limits (something that I was doing far too often).
When we think of the spiritual discipline of simplicity, we shouldn’t just be thinking of material simplicity, although that is a major, major component of this practice. But a simple and calm life. Make a simple meal. Have a simple day. Spend time just sitting outside in the goodness of God’s creation. Take a break from the constant flow of work emails, the constant drive to improve the house, the endless stream of entertainment. And just live simply.