Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul
Author: Bill Hybels
|Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Overscheduled. Sound familiar? Today’s velocity of life can consume and control us . . . until our breakneck pace begins to feel normal and expected. That’s where the danger lies: When we spend our lives doing things that keep us busy but don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do.|
What if your life could be different? What if you could be certain you were living the life God called you to live—and building a legacy for those you love? If you crave a simpler life anchored by the priorities that matter most, roll up your sleeves: Simplified living requires more than just cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul. By eradicating the stuff that leaves your spirit drained, you can stop doing what doesn’t matter—and start doing what does.
In Simplify, bestselling author Bill Hybels identifies the core issues that lure us into frenetic living—and offers searingly practical steps for sweeping the clutter from our souls.
ISBN: 1414391234 EAN: 9781414391236
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
US SRP: 15.99 US
Pub Date: May 01, 2015
Features: Bibliography, Price on Product, Table of Contents
Physical Info: 0.8" H x 8.9" L x 5.9" W (0.85 lbs) 320 pages
Carton Quantity: 44
ISBN: 1414391226 EAN: 9781414391229
Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
US SRP: 22.99 US
Pub Date: August 19, 2014
Copyright Date: 2014
Features: Price on Product, Table of Contents
Physical Info: 1.0" H x 9.1" L x 6.2" W (1.25 lbs) 320 pages
Carton Quantity: 24
from exhausted to energized
Replenishing Your Energy Reserves
A good portion of my work these days involves coaching and mentoring leaders, both here in the United States and around the world. Increasingly, whether I'm speaking with leaders at home or abroad, at Willow Creek or in other circles of my life, I hear the same words repeated over and over: exhausted, overwhelmed, overscheduled, anxious, isolated, dissatisfied. It's a bipartisan issue—young and old, rich and poor, professionals and parents, women and men, Republicans and Democrats. And it's a global issue—I've heard these words in English and in countless foreign languages.
It was startling to hear these words so often. I began to realize that, as leaders and Christ followers, we needed to address this situation. So whenever I had a chance, I began openly discussing burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction. My gut told me the topics might strike a chord with people, because they certainly struck a chord with me.
I grossly underestimated the impact.
As I explored the concerns that leave people feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and exhausted, and as I sought to formulate a framework for how to tackle the diverse complexities of these issues, I began using the term simplify. How do we simplify our lives? The term stuck. The very word seemed to energize people.
Perhaps they hoped I would unveil a closely held secret, a key to the universe that would help them uncomplicate their frazzled lives. Perhaps they assumed I was well beyond these issues in my own experience and hoped I might whisk some crumbs of wisdom off the mahogany table of my life into their waiting and eagerly cupped hands.
Not so! Those who know me well can tell you I've spent the majority of my adult life wrestling with the same dark swarm of words I've lately been hearing from leaders across the globe. I am nowhere near immune. I know far too much about being overwhelmed and overscheduled and exhausted. I know all too well what it feels like to be anxious, dissatisfied, wounded, and spent. As I've talked about these issues, I have been both a student and a teacher, to be sure. You'll see in the pages you're about to read that I'm a serious fellow learner on the topic of simplifying our lives.
I am not naturally inclined to lead a simple life. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to the calling God has entrusted to me—not just at work, but also with my family, the relationships I invest in, the recreation I need for my mental health, and the travel my work requires. I don't foresee my life slowing to a lounge-by-the-pool pace anytime soon, if ever. Can you relate?
Simplified living is about more than doing less. It's being who God called us to be, with a wholehearted, single-minded focus. It's walking away from innumerable lesser opportunities in favor of the few to which we've been called and for which we've been created. It's a lifestyle that allows us, when our heads hit the pillow at night, to reflect with gratitude that our day was well invested and the varied responsibilities of our lives are in order.
If we don't change how we live, our overcomplicated world will begin to feel frighteningly normal. We will become accustomed to life at a frantic pace, no longer able to discriminate between the important and the unessential. And that's the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don't really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter. Through more misses than hits, I have experienced the high cost of allowing my life to get out of control. My desire is to spare you some of the pain of learning these lessons as I did—the hard way.
What if your life could be different? What if you could be certain you were living the life God called you to live and building a legacy for those you love? If you crave a simpler life anchored by the priorities that matter most, roll up your sleeves: Simplified living requires more than just organizing your closets or cleaning out your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul. By examining core issues that lure you into frenetic living, and by eradicating the barriers that leave you exhausted and overwhelmed, you can stop doing the stuff that doesn't matter and build your life on the stuff that does.
In my experience, a handful of key practices are vital to keeping my soul clutter-free. These practices help me overcome the barriers that keep me from living the life "to the full" that Jesus promises in John 10:10. In each chapter of this book, I invite you to examine one of these practices, assess what Scripture has to say about it, hold up a mirror to your own life, and then take action.
There are no shortcuts to simplified living. Untangling yourself from the overscheduled, overwhelming web of your current life is not for the faint of heart. It's honest, rigorous work. As I tell leaders whenever I speak on the subject, action is required. That's why each chapter of this book concludes with Action Steps—questions about what keeps you in bondage to such frenetic, cluttered patterns, as well as hands-on practices for eradicating clutter from your soul and moving toward a simplified life. I challenge you to go beyond reading each chapter merely for theory. Don't let an intellectual nod to the concept of simplified living inoculate you against making actual changes in your actual life. Rather, apply what you read with courage and grit.
I can tell you from my own experience that simplifying your life will produce immediate rewards. Each day will have a clear purpose, and each relationship will receive the investment it's due. And without the needless clutter clanging around in your soul, you'll be able to hear—and respond to—each whisper from God.
This is what I know: Change is possible. Whether you're teetering on the edge of a cluttered collapse or you're just starting to realize that some minor life adjustments are in order, you can simplify. You may well have to simplify to live the life God is inviting you to live. As you begin to implement these key practices, they will become habits that create simplified days, then months, then years, and eventually a lifetime that brings satisfaction and fulfillment. Making these course corrections will produce a life you'll be glad to have lived when you look in the rearview mirror.
You've been warned: This process is not for the faint of heart. Action on your part is required. Still game? Let's dive in.
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