“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”
–Franklin D. Roosevelt, Looking Forward
A friend of mine recently asked me to describe to him what a Christian who is pursuing simplicity exactly looks like. Truthfully, I couldn’t give him any specific answers. And it’s not because I couldn’t create for him a list of do’s and don’ts. Such lists are not helpful in the pursuit of simplicity anyway. I couldn’t give concrete answers because of one simple reason: there are no two people who are exactly alike. And therefore, no two people will approach simplicity in exactly the same way.
If my friend decides to pursue simplicity, how he goes about it will look quite different from how I’ve gone about it. There might be similarities in our approaches but they will never be exactly the same. What simplicity will look like for you will be different from somebody else. And that’s because our approaches to simplicity depend on various factors which may include:
What life stage you’re in
Where you live
Whether or not you’re married
Whether or not you have children
What advantages you have (like education, resources, etc.)
What your job situation is
And a whole slew of other factors that are unique to individuals and families. Simplicity for a middle-aged couple with 3 young children will drastically look different from an elderly couple whose children have all left the house. And so creating a specific list of do’s and don’ts for simple living would not doubt be unhelpful, if not impossible in the first place.
Instead of trying to figure out everything there is to know about simplicity, I suggest just taking small steps towards it. There’s a heuristic component to practicing simplicity. You will learn more about it through trial-and-error and experimentation. Once you’ve had a small taste of simplicity, it will no doubt inspire you to try more things and move deeper into that lifestyle.
I think it’s quite freeing to know that you can pursue simplicity at your own pace, in your own way, and using your own creativity. You don’t (and shouldn’t) have to look like me or anybody else who’s pursuing simplicity. Of course, there are ideas that might be helpful and a godly standard to uphold based upon God’s Word. But as we take these important things into consideration, we are free to be bold, unique, and creative in our attempts to move towards simplifying our lives.