I coined a phrase years ago to help keep me focused: “Second things second”.
It’s a reminder that there will always be something secondary competing for my attention and effort. And that it needs to be kept in its place, priority-wise.
Many times in life we’re encouraged to “Simplify!” As if that were a completely simple thing to get our heads wrapped around and accomplish.
So what does it really mean to simplify? Is it merely owning less stuff? Or doing less stuff?
Paring down our possessions and schedule tend to be the go-to actions. They’re concrete, easy to understand, and produce fairly quick results.
Whether they lead us to the results we ultimately desire–or not–is an entirely different question.
Practicing simplicity without a framework to fit simplicity into is like placing spokes on a wheel without connecting them to a hub.
Simplicity needs a heart: You must have clear purpose.
Otherwise your life is divided and distracted, and you wind up endlessly meandering through each day.
Purpose produces priorities.
To reach your goals, you must determine which things you need to less of. And which things you need to do MORE of.
Purpose-driven simplicity enables you to choose the essential over the secondary. The important over the urgent. The best over the good.
For me, the purpose of daily worship is to help keep my heart pointed in a healthy direction.
Having defined purpose gives each of our lives a unifying principle around which all our tasks and decisions center. Each one has a place and a function that works towards the goal.
That’s inner integration. That’s simplicity.
Once your purpose and priorities are set, your hub is in place. THEN doing things like buying less, trimming your schedule, even practicing minimalism can make sense. Because they have a framework to fit into.
What should we prioritize to nurture our worship of God? Jesus pointed to this:
“Why do you have so little faith? Don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Matthew 6:30-33 NLT
Today make this simple prayer your own:
Father God, help me prioritize my relationship with you and living a life that honors you. Let those two things become the hub, the center of who I am. And let all the secondary things in my life fall into place where you would have them. Integrate and simplify my life so that I may worship you. This is my prayer and it’s in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.