Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday Freebie!

By Brenda Black

No doubt, the only reason most stopped to read this column today had to do with the headline. While you were surfing on line for ads and door-busting bargains, your eyes automatically focused on “Black Friday Freebie!” So here you are, two lines into this lead paragraph and wondering when is this writer going to get to the point and tell you what you have coming that will cost you nothing.

Still reading? Then I feel compelled to offer you something worth your time and effort. In a world crammed full of stuff, I have some free advice: SIMPLIFY!

Here are some tips to get you started to a life with less in order to enjoy it more.

*Subtract the excess to add quality and contentment. “Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right...He does not oppress anyone but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man. He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel 18:5, 7-9)

*Clear the clutter. That means the stuff around us and the stuff inside of us. “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” (Ez. 18:30b-31) You are going to feel so much lighter!

*Refuse to get caught in the trap of overspending, overcommitting, and overworking. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:...a time to search and time to give up, a time to keep and time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend...” (Ecclesiastes 3:6-7a) Pray before you say yes or no to anything.

*A simpler life has time for people more than things. When we spend more time on relationships and less expense and worry on nicknacks, we're more likely to enjoy a meaningful life. A young disciple named Titus learned the value of investing himself into people and having people pour love back on him. Paul writes a thank you letter to the church at Corinth describing this young man's joy. “In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me.” (2 Corinthians 7:13b-14a) Travel lightly and connect lovingly.

*Prioritize to Simplify. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5) We can get by with far less when we understand the difference between needs and wants.

*Living Simply leaves room to celebrate God's creation and see God even in the small stuff of yourself. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Living with less in no way short changes us. We are all the more rich when we fill our lives with things eternal. Keep that in mind when the world screams at you “MORE! MORE! MORE!”

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