As I have mentioned before, I have been and continue to be on a journey of simplifying my life to a more minimal, essentialist lifestyle. And the simple side is sorting through some of your possessions and getting rid of what is not needed.
And if it is not needed, bye bye! Sell it off or ship it off to charity. But here is the interesting thing. You can know you don’t like the item all that much, know you haven’t used it in years, and know for a fact that you will most likely never miss it in the future; and it is still sometimes so hard to let go of it?
And most of the time, it is fear that causes you to hang on. Not big earth-shattering anxiety, just that nibble of doubt that causes you to fear whether you will regret selling the item in the future. Or the little voice that says that maybe your car is going to break down soon, and against all odds you will decide that you will get dirty and do the repair work yourself, and you should probably keep this pair of jeans you hate for that dirty eventuality.
If you know me, you know how ridiculous that sounds. I know practically nothing about cars, and would sooner bribe a friend to fix it than do it myself. Heck, I would connive, beg, manipulate, or blackmail a friend before I would fix it myself. I am not getting under the car, man! So why can such a thought get jeans moved from the charity pile back to the closet?
It shows the power of doubt and irrational fear. And if sorting jeans gets tricky with a little voice like that, imagine trying to simplify life’s greater issues. Over the last while I have been evaluating some work priorities and trying to come up with a simplified more focused to-do agenda. And all the logic, reason, passion and time-limits cannot make discarding business opportunities that no longer fit the agenda an easy thing to do.
Saying no is really the hardest thing to learn. It requires a tremendous amount of faith. Faith that your world will not go off-kilter because you are changing your focus, but rather become more in balance. And I am a guy that likes change! Figure that!
Coasting into the future on default is a lot less scary, than making defined decisions about your future. Making intentional decisions puts the responsibility so close to home! What if I won’t be able to fill my time with things that I am better at? Funny thing is, you fear that, even if you are so overbooked on time right now that you wish you could just lie in a hammock for a year or two.
Making simplifying, focused, deliberate decisions brings out the fear in us. And it exposes our lack of faith. Faith that God will bless our effort to do the things He created us for. Faith that it is even possible to know the shape of our design.
Sifting through the lessons life has taught you, brings the answer to “what was I created to do” into such stark focus that you can no longer ignore it and feel obligated to do something about it. But even that does not produce faith, unless you learn to know God’s heart towards you.
It is when I hear God whisper His heart and His intent into my heart, that I realize that faith does truly come by hearing, and I can make the choices that life requires of me. Choices that move me forward intentionally, not by coasting into the future so frozen by fear that only the default life is possible.