Sr. Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ (American, 1937?-), "O Root" (from the "O Antiphons" series). Of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Tags: Tree of Jesse. Source: http://csjstpaul.org/ansgar_holmbergs_o_antiphon_paintings.aspx; http://yokeofchrist.blogspot.com/2010/12/o-root-of-jesse.html

Day 4: The Process

As we examine the four key areas of your life and outline a process for change, we will use the four words of clarity, movement, alignment, and focus. These words are important, so let’s clarify what they mean.

Clarity

Clarity means you know where you are going. Before you move closer to the simple life, you need a blueprint of where you are going. You need clarity.

Each week there needs to be a challenge to develop a clear plan toward the simple life:

How do you plan to spend time on the things that really matter in life?

What is your plan for developing healthier relationships?

How do you plan to get your finances in order?

What is your plan for getting closer to God?

You probably noticed the redundancy of the word plan. Clarity means that you have a plan and that the plan clearly states where you want to go. You need to write your own mission statement for each of the four areas. But don’t leave that mission statement as an inactive file in your computer. Let it be the blueprint toward the simple life.

We all know we need more clarity in these four areas, but most of the time we don’t make a plan. Here are some of the heartfelt cries of those in the surveyed by Rainer. See if you can hear the clarity they need to move toward the simple life:

“I want to be able to spend more time with my child instead of working all the time and having him go to day care.”

“I would just love for the kids to get along and quit fighting so that we could have some peace in the house.”

“I spend too much time taking everyone where they need to be when they need to be there.”

“I want a job that would satisfy all of our financial needs without taking time away from our family time.”

“We are constantly on the go due to our children’s sporting events. Whether it’s for practice, scrimmages, or games of multiple sports, we are gone from home almost every night of the week.”

I wish we could pay off all our debt. It would take a lot of stress off at home and let us spend more time together.”

“We all need to be on the same page spiritually. Our relationship with God is an afterthought in our family.

I will begin each week’s study by focusing on clarity. Simply stated this will help you see the path you need to travel. Paul wrote about achieving God’s goals for his life:

Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead,I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything God will reveal this to you also (Phil. 3:12-15).

Paul also wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I because a man, I put aside childish things. For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, hut then I will know fully, as I am fully known” (I Cor. 13:11-12). Maturity is Gods desire for us. If we ask him, he will help us clearly see the changes we need to make.

Write your own definition of clarity and describe now this step can help you move toward a simple life.

Movement

Congestion is rarely a good thing. The word can take on different meanings, but few if any of them are good. Congestion means to be blocked up or to be to be full of something. Whether referring to sinuses or highways congestion is had.

Congestion in life means you aren’t moving toward the goal. To make progress, you need to identify and remove the obstacles. In each of the four areas of time, relationships, money, and God, we will look at movement how we can remove the congestion or obstacles to get where we need to go. Movement involves two elements.

Movement is intentional. I’m sometimes asked how I can start a church. It’s not rocket science. You must be intentional. One Must purposefully act on their plan.

After you have decided that you will make better use of your time you act on it. You are intentional. The same is true for healthy relationships. And the same is true for financial health. You are intentional. After you have decided that you want to get closer to God, you act on it. You are intentional.

Movement is incremental. You don’t try to conquer the world in a day. You take short-term steps. You have the clarity of where you want to go, but you don’t try to arrive at your destination all at once.

For example, if you want to be healthier, you may start with a mild exercise program, take a multivitamin, or start eating healthier foods. You have literally dozens of choices, but you take only one or a few steps. If you try to do everything at once, you will become frustrated and give up.

That’s the way it is with the simple life. Movement requires taking incremental steps so that you won’t give up.

\/\/rite your own definition of movement and describe how this step can help you move toward a simple life.

Alignment

As we delve into the tough issues of moving toward the simple life, we need to look at areas where we go wrong, where our lives are out of line with our goals. Most of the time, it takes only one small misstep to evolve into a major problem. Most people don’t have debt problems overnight. Most Christians don’t stop attending church suddenly. Most relationships don’t fail over one incident. Most people don’t become workaholics in one day. Instead, their lives get out of alignment. It begins small. But it doesn’t remain small. You can’t reach your goals if your daily habits and activities don’t line up with your stated objectives.

Write your own definition of alignment and describe how this step can help you move toward a simple life.

Focus

After you clearly state where you want to go (clarity), begin making incremental steps in the right direction (movement), and match your daily life to your stated goals (alignment), you are ready to eliminate some good stuff. Yep, you read right. You eliminate some good stuff.

You see, it is one thing to get those bad habits and problems out of the way. But it is another thing to stop doing some good things. This is called focus.

Many problems I have read in this study were not always the result of doing bad things. Many of the things we do have good intentions.

The simple life demands that we eliminate some things. It means we have to make some tough decisions. In fact, focus may very well be the toughest step toward the simple life. But it is absolutely necessary.

Write your own definition of focus and describe how this step can help you move toward a simple life.

Clarity. Movement. Alignment. Focus. These four strategies will bring you closer to the simple life.

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