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FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)
About the Author:
JOYCE MEYER is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce’s Enjoying Everyday LifeÂ® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri. (ISBN#9780446194167, 240pp, $16.99)
Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what youâ€™ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better dayâ€”a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, youâ€™re not alone.
Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.
I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing wonâ€™t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?
I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesnâ€™t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didnâ€™t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problemâ€”stress.
In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?
I discovered it wasnâ€™t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasnâ€™t the problemâ€”I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.
Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. Iâ€™d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didnâ€™t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers werenâ€™t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.
Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasnâ€™t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadnâ€™t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.
I could not figure out why I wasnâ€™t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.
Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!
Jesus offers us a â€œnew way of living,â€ and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities youâ€™ve allowed to take over? Letâ€™s get started.
Do One Thing at a Time
The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else-we are the busiest people in the world.
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].
When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. Itâ€™s like removing an egg yolk from the egg whiteâ€”both can be used separately but the result isnâ€™t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.
Practice living one day at a time; give yourselfâ€”your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of youâ€”to the day at hand.
Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.
Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? Itâ€™s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.
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