Keeping It Simple in 2012

“A simple life in the fear of God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches” – Proverbs 15:6

I’ve shared a lot on this blog about simplifying your life, but here’s the problem when it comes to trying to keep things simple: It’s really hard!

It seems life tends to move towards complexity. It keeps handing us more and more stuff to worry about. More responsibility. More complications. More balls to juggle. And unfortunately our fast-paced, “always-on-always-connected” culture isn’t helping.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

The good news is that we can change. That even though we live in a world that is growing ever more complex, it is still quite possible, and actually not as difficult as we might think, to keep things simple in 2012. Here’s how:

1) Filter

Learning to filter starts by giving up the fiction that you have to be on top of everything. Many “good” things may come your way in 2012, but filtering is about about choosing the best over the good. This means you have to learn to say “No”. It means learning to protect your time, and being intentional in how you choose to spend that precious time. It’s about setting your priorities, and putting first things first.

2) Forget

Forgetting is about giving yourself downtime to rest and recover. It’s about daring to slow down in a world that is speeding up. It’s about making a conscious choice to stop caring about certain things: Like everyone else’s opinion of you, or the things you have no control over. It’s also about giving yourself permission to let go of, or eliminate, those things in your life that ultimately are not helping you get where you’re going.

At this time of year people often talk about New Year’s Resolutions – those things you are going to do in 2012. But my question for you is rather, “What are you NOT going to do this year?” What are you going to forget?

3) Focus

Focusing is about knowing where you want to be, or rather who you want to be. It’s about having a plan and a vision for your life and setting your eyes to that plan. It’s about starting with the end in mind, and understanding that which matters most.

Now, in my opinion, the thing that matters most is Jesus.

In fact, I believe that if we truly want to simplify in 2012, then we must turn our focus to the person of Jesus. The man who modeled divine simplicity in everything He did and said. Who placed value not in temporary things, but in ultimate things. Things like people, and relationships, and family, and friendships, and kindness, and compassion, and justice, and peace. These were the things that mattered to Jesus, and He never lost sight of it.

And so, as you learn to FILTER, FORGET, and FOCUS in 2012, may you know God’s love and grace in your life, and may you be filled with a great sense of peace that comes from Him.

 
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21 Comments on “Keeping It Simple in 2012

  1. Great post thanks Tom – I heard a quote recently that basically was saying the important always gives way to what we see as urgent. And the problem is the urgent will always be there and is usually not as important as we might think! I know personally this year that I do not want the urgent to crowd out what is truly important which, Jesus modelled so well for us, and you summed up so succinctly. May we all get better at recognising what is important and gain wisdom to outwork it in our own lives as we focus on Jesus in 2012!

    • Great insight. I totally agree. If we live in the urgent/unimportant space our whole lives, we will become stressed out, and miss the most important things in life!

  2. Hey Tom

    I am not about to make any argument against your beliefs. Although I do not believe in Jesus or Christianity myself, I think it’s great that you believe so strongly. What I do agree with however – and this is the reason I follow your blog – is that there are definitely certain things that bog us all down and we all need to find a way of dealing with that which is positive and what focuses on what the individual really wants. I was always taught that to change your life you need to first look at yourself. Well, yes, but I also believe that to achieve what you want you have to get yourself out there and go for it. Thanks for the insight into how I can get myself flying again.

  3. Your tips for forgetting and focusing are great reinforcements of one of my goals for 2012: schedule an extended time alone with God once each month to help me find focus, peace, and motivation. I’ve found that spending thirty or forty minutes each morning in quiet time with God is a good way to pull me through each day, but I need more than that to maintain the deep connection with God that I desire.

  4. Filtering is something I need to work better on. But I love the way you say it – choosing the best over the good. I’ve heard people from athletes to businessmen whose mantra is “Good is the enemy of best.”

  5. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who’s thinking this. So many people squander their lives in the pursuit of unimportant things. They run from one thing to another and never stop to think. There are those that think if they are busy than they are leading a good life. I think you need to slow down and simplify your life. Enjoy where you are and with what God has given you. The most important thing here is that you need to learn to be content. Be happy with what God gives and not always be thinking if I had this or that my life would be better.

  6. Just subscribed to your blog, cool articles. This particular one confirmed what I was reminded of today to turn my focus back on Him and to stop worrying about other people’s opinions. At the end of the day it is God’s opinion of us that matters, not others! Thanks for the encouraging article.

  7. Tom
    You demonstrate your point very aptly in keeping your message simple yet powerful — Nicely done, condensing your message to three points, filter, focus, and forget. Meaningful and memorable message. Thank you.

  8. I really enjoy your blog Tom. I find your insights to be very informative and I am trying to adopt several to make my life more simple. I am not spiritual at all but I don’t think that really matters. I do know that your are a great writer and of course I respect your beliefs.

  9. Pingback: Miscellaneous: 7 links | The Simple Pastor

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