One thing I love about reading from authors who are so dedicated to being biblical truth tellers is that the messages we get do not change, because God does not change and His ways do not change. In one week I read A.W. Tozer, a man who lived in the early 1900’s, and and Priscilla Shirer, a modern day female author and speaker. Both confirmed some things that the Lord has already spoken to my heart. Sometimes with the exact same phrasing!
So when I came across a chapter in one of my latest Tozer books, Of God and Man, titled “Let’s Cultivate Simplicity & Solitude” it shouldn’t have taken me off guard, but it did. It so funny how buzz words can come about in a generation, but I feel like we are all talking about how to simplify our lives, find the margin, become minimal, Marie Kondo your life… however you want to put it! It feels like a new concept, but the truth is that this has been a struggle for people for generations, though it is definitely getting harder and harder with modern day technologies.
His take on the idea of fighting for simplicity and solitude really woke me up and I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from this chapter and his tips on how to do that.
“We Christians must simplify our lives or
lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity.”
This simplification and solitude is dire. It will effect our life here on earth and our time in heaven.
“Modern civilization is so complex… It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again.”
We desperately need the space to be able to renew ourselves to meet the challenges of the world.
“These modern play things… threaten to devour us all.
What was intended to be a blessing has become a positive curse.”
I’m staring at you, cell phone.
“A few effortless assimilation of these borrowed ideas and the average man has done all the thinking he will or can do. The subtle brainwashing goes on day after day and year after year to the eternal injury of the populace.”
This was an a-ha/duh moment for me. We know that commercials and advertisements can brainwash, but the idea that others ideas from social media can literally control our thinking really shook me up. We all start thinking the same, using the same phrases, etc. And on top of that, we voluntarily just give up our uniqueness and our individuality! Again this will effect our eternal life and the lives of others, especially if what we compromise is what the Lord is calling us to do.
“However there are a few of God’s children who have had enough. They want to relearn the ways of solitude and simplicity and gain the infinite riches of the interior life.”
Yes! I see this with women all over who are
- choosing to saying “No” to good things, and deciding what is best for THEM.
- Taking breaks from social media.
- Simplifying their activities commitments.
- Turning off the noise.
- Learning to uni-task :)
Okay, thanks Toze, for firing us up! Now I hope you are as ready as I am to do something about it!
Here is what I felt like was a good, simple list he shared to think about when pursuing simplicity and solitude, with some of my thoughts on how this directly relates to us today! Like I said before, a lot of this stuff is not rocket science. When truths are eternal, they won’t be. But sometimes we just need to hear it in a different way (and maybe make it into a list :)) to make it a little clearer and easy to follow!
1. “Retire from the world each day to some private spot.”
Find a quiet, secluded, dedicated space, to be still. A war room maybe :)
2. “Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God’s presence envelops you.”
Shut out the noise and chatter of the world and sit in the presence of the Lord. He’s always there, but it takes intention and our attention to feel Him with us.
3. “Deliberately tune out unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them.”
Be intentional to continue your day shutting out the “noise”.
4. “Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it.”
Listen for the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The more you hear (and obey) the more you will sense it.
5. “Stop trying to compete with others.”
Relax, stay in your lane, don’t be consumed with what others are doing and celebrate the work they are doing for the kingdom.
6. “Give yourself to God, and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think.”
Put your head down. Be the person that God has called you to be and do the work that God has called you to do, without any thought of what others will think.
7. “Reduce your interests to a few.”
Simplify, Minimize, Kondo your life! This doesn’t mean that you pick just a few interests for life. It might just mean that in this season you choose to focus on just a few things and then be flexible with changing them as the seasons change and as opportunities come up. The point is to avoid just always ADDING things to your life.
8. “Don’t try to know what will be of no service to you.”
Stop reading facebook articles, buzzfeed lists, celebrity gossip, political opinions, etc. Be a gatekeeper for what comes into your mind. If it doesn’t add value to your life, then cut it out.
9. “Avoid the digest type of mind – short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories, and bright sayings.”
Recognize the need to constantly consume media and fight it. Stop devouring bits and pieces of social media mindlessly, hoping it will make you “feel good”.
10. “Learn to pray inwardly every moment.”
Pray Before. This method that I have been using for the last year, has taught me to pray throughout the day. Before each next moment or activity I am more aware to pray before I start! (I will be doing a blog post about this method soon.)
11. “Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life.”
Read more quality, less quantity. Read about topics that will build you up spiritually and push you toward your goals.
12. “Call home your roving thoughts.”
Guard your mind. Don’t let unrighteous thoughts carry you away. Plan ahead of time to combat the lies with the truth.
13. “Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul.”
Think about Christ. Turn your heart toward Christ. Let yourself be consumed by Him. Sit in awe of who He is.
14. “Practice spiritual concentration.”
Be intentional about your spiritual life. Don’t let it drift or happen by default, because that will always be away from the Lord, not to Him.