Photo Credit: catalin82,

Can you still remember the days when you still have a simple life with your parents as a child? You have simple schedule, simple activities, simple moments but full of the thing that eludes us now that we’re adult – happiness, fused with peace and a sense of pure connection with the most important things in life.

You don’t have many toys. You don’t have the money that you have now. You don’t bother if you’re famous or not. It is okay for you with not catching up with everybody. It doesn't matter if you’re liked on Facebook or not. Not worrying about not having a thousand followers on Twitter. You sleep soundly, eat healthy, read enthusiastically, watch with wonder, celebrate with your family, and play with no-pretense fun.

Life is pretty simple back then and you’re fulfilled. Deep inside, you’re smiling and living a life. It is the way to live, accepting every moment as a gift and living with authentic happiness.

Culture of Complexity

But as we grew up, we encountered other ideals. We entered school and found out that we’re not all the same. Some are good at math, others are in dancing. The school segregate the smarts from the average, and yes, despise the bozos. It is amazing to see little children beginning to think of school as a performance stage, a place where they need to perform well to affirm that they are important, to be accepted by their parents, teachers and classmates.

We’re also exposed to the bombarding advertisements, telling us to buy this, wear that, join that, and be like that. Slowly but with precise saturation, the culture’s ideals got embedded in us. “You need to measure up. Catch up with everyone”

We graduated on college and dived in to our career. Then the meaning of happiness and life got lost in the web of alluring lifestyle. Saving for the next shiny toy became your motivation for working, replacing the love you once felt when you’re starting. You even got your hands dirty with credit cards just to advance your purchase. “I need to buy the next big thing!” became your unconscious cry.

You attend parties and say yes to every request. Even your calendar is about to burst, you still dump activity after activity in it, activities that doesn't really add value to your sense of being. You replaced family time with party time. You come home from time to time just to do hygiene and sleep. Tragically, you even forget that you have a family, and that they need your presence more than your paycheck. You miss spending holidays with them. “Next time. I promise,” you lied again. It is pathetic.

You can’t focus. You can’t stop checking new feeds, new tweets, new messages, new trending videos, new distractions because you’re afraid to let your mind to wander and reflect if you’re doing the right thing or really living a life.

Day after day, you add layer after layer of complexity to your already complicated life. You believe it can be done, to do infinite things in a finite life. You think you’re the exception, the glorious multi-tasker who can receive infinite request without break.

You’re bushed, but you’re not willing to admit it. You add mask after mask to maintain your pretentious life. But deep inside, you know that you’re in a spiral. You’re not telling the truth, and you’re exhausted in not doing so.

It’s sickening, how a life full of toys, activities, commitments, and notifications feels empty? It feels like that because it is the truth – a pretentious and over-complicated life is an empty one.

An Invitation to Simplify

Solomon of ancient Israel, was given by God a chance to request anything from Him, anything! He can ask for astounding wealth, glorious fame, or cruel death of his enemies. But he didn't asked for any of that stuff. Instead, he asked for something that would help him lead his life, the life of his people and the life of future generations, he asked for wisdom.

Now, if Solomon is the wisest man that ever lived here on earth. Don’t you think that we can learn timeless wisdom from him? Advices that really does work?

I believe it, so if you’re also positioning yourself for that answer, let’s proceed.

He said, “A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.”

What? Is he insane? Why a showy life is an empty life? Isn't the reason that you’re showing it on the first place is because you’re full? Why not add more stuff and activities so you can be fuller and be treated like a rockstar?

Solomon would say, “Nah, that’s garbage. Eliminate complexity and embrace simplicity.”

You see, as you add more stuff in your life that don’t really add value to you or others, it makes you feel that your worth is entangled with those things. So we start focusing on our outer life, on outer layer instead of nurturing our inner core, where deep connection to God, family, and life happens.

We fall to the delusion that having more is being more. But life doesn't flow that way. In order to appreciate the things outside ourselves, we must first simplify and nurture our inner selves. If you are being more, you can appreciate more.

If we let our stupidity get the better of us, and just follow the dangerous swim of our culture of complexity, itchy disappointments would gradually popped up in our life. We would became like a bloated operating system full of adware, virus, and sudden crashes (imagine a dirty Windows XP, or a messy Samsung TouchWiz).

A lot of people are in vertigo – a life devoid of balance and in cheapening spiral. They’re irritable and can’t focus in anything but distractions. Their priorities is as clear as a shattered glass. No one can beat them in the blaming Olympics, and they are winning yearlong.

A life full of complexity and distraction doesn't deserve to be lived by anyone of us. We are called to live for something simpler and better. A life grounded on the grace of God, nurtured relationships, clear priorities and healthy sense of meaning and contribution.

Don’t pretend having a perfect life. Live a genuine life instead. Cut off complexity and distraction, focus on what really matters. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

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