The Simple Things


“It’s always the simple things that change our lives.  And these things never happen when we are looking for them to happen.  Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so.  You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.  This is how God does things.” ~Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz

“You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.”

I’ve found that to be so true in my life. I want to do great and mighty things. I want to enjoy life to it’s fullest. You know, all those “American Dreams.” The pursuit of happiness.

In many ways I’ve lived the American Dream.  I have a husband who loves me, three children who bless me, a home with two cats in the yard, and yet, I’ve not “grasped” the happiness I’ve sought.  Why is that?  What is so difficult in life that the blessings of life are not “enough” to satisfy?

Solomon asked the same question (Ecclesiastes).  He had everything the earth could offer, blessings poured out on him from above and yet, in his old age, he walked away from God.  His heart went after other gods (1Kings 11).

A wandering heart…

We strive trying to “fill-up” the emptiness of life. 
We strive for things, for relationships, for relief,
for something beyond the pain we feel. 

I believe I’m learning — and it’s not been an easy lesson, at all — that the happiness we pursue will not be found on this earth.  I am very grateful that I live in a country which allows me the freedom to pursue it, but I now believe happiness is fleeting at best.

When my grandmother was in her eighties she came to visit one day.  She lived on the other side of Dallas and Grandpa had come to help till the garden for vegetables.  It was the first time I had a yard big enough for a proper vegetable garden.  With two little boys, I felt it a wonderful summer pastime to work and play in the garden and then to enjoy the fruits of our labor at mealtime.

My grandparents were the best examples of living simply.  Grandpa was a preacher and later an evangelist. They never had much in worldly goods.  But they lived well.  They lived clean and ate healthy.  Food from their own garden.  The freshness and flavor of Grandpa’s garden could not be surpassed.  And the meals my grandmother cooked…WOW!

But, back to the story, Grandmother had come along to visit while Grandpa worked in the sweltering Texas heat to prepare my garden for planting.  I was concerned about Grandpa out there working so hard, but Grandmother told me not to worry, “If he doesn’t do it today, it’ll just be hotter tomorrow.  He’s fine.  He’ll pace himself and rest in the shade when he needs to.”

I began lamenting about the difficulties of working.  Seems laundry to fold, meals to make, dishes to clean and bathrooms to scour would never end.  And here I was adding a garden to all the work!  Grandmother just laughed.   “Oh Michelle, I’m eighty years old and if I’ve learned anything it’s that life stays the same.  You’ll always have laundry to do.  We just keep doing the same tasks over and over again.  That’s life.  Love God, Michelle, and learn to enjoy it.”

Life’s on a stroll. 

We may feel like running, but God gave us one day at a time. 
And in His wisdom, He gave us work to do.

Live one day at a time;
Enjoy one moment at a time;
Accept hardship as the pathway to peace;
And take, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as you would have it.
(Thanks, Reinhold.)

Live Simply.


8 responses »

  1. There have been many times in my life when my brain was going 100 mph but the world seemed stuck in the slow lane. That can only result in one thing, crash.

    To recover I do exactly what you suggest, slow done and lead as simple a life as I can. Focus on doing the simple, but important, everyday task, like laundry, and get through the day.

    As you say the American dream seems to be the pursuit of happiness. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal in it’s self. It will, hopefully, be the by-product of living a purpose filled life. Including doing the laundry. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” (from old Hebrew proverb?). 🙂

    I will disagree with you on one thing. Having cats in the yard, or any place else, is not my idea of being happy.

    After having had to babysit my cousin’s 6 cats, when she has been on vacation, I would rather live in a coal mine than with cats. 🙂

  2. i think you perfectly just described being homesickness for heaven…yep i know this one…and i know you do too. hope you are well.

  3. Haha..Ed. Remember Crosby, Stills, and Nash — Our House. It’s been my favorite song (and best dream) since high school.

    Yeah, Darla, I’m definitely homesick. I’m getting better…thanks. Praying for you…always.

  4. CSNY may have been the most talented group the US has produced. I have all their albums.

    “Our House” has great lyrics, but I just hum the “two cats in the yard” part. 🙂

    Deja Vu is one of the classic albums ever produced. It’s hard to pick a favorite from:

    “Teach Your Children”, “Woodstock”, “Our House”, “Carry On”, ” Almost Cut My Hair” and “Helpless”.

  5. I love “Teach Your Children” and their version of “Blackbird”…wow. It’s their tight harmonies. Oh, and “Just a Song Before I Go.” Extremely talented. I was such a nerd in high school, Ed, I had no idea who they were until my senior year (79-80) when my best friend bought me the Deja Vu cassette tape. I wore it out, listening so much.

  6. Nice Post Sis 🙂

    “We may feel like running, but God gave us one day at a time. And in His wisdom, He gave us work to do.”

    Six days did God labour – and on the Seventh He Rested from all His Labours.

    He actually commanded His Children to do the same… How many of us listen and ‘take the day off’ EVERY week?

    How many of us can justify ourselves not doing it?

    my hand is up.

    and i’m not overly keen on all that working stuff either ! 😉 especially laundry – a thing i find massively over-rated – but i don’t have kids or cats. 🙂

    Your Grand-parents sound like they got a lot right 🙂

    Keep on Strolling, Sister. 🙂


  7. I’ve heard multiple times how we have a void in our hearts that only God can fill. Aint that the truth! As humans we try to fill that void with things of the world (relationships, things, etc.) but the void still exists. It reminds me of Psalm 62:5; our expectation should and is to be from ONLY Him. Yet that is so much easier said than done when we live in the World and one that emphasizes superficial happiness (the “American dream,” a loaded resume of achievements, savings etc.). Still I praise God for His infinite patience with us as we get to a point of trusting Him more and more to fill our hearts, minds, and souls with His peace, joy and strength. It is a process. One that lasts until we die but one well worth it as He receives the glory and His purpose for our life is achieved.

    Love ya! XO

  8. Thanks, Love! My grandparents were amazing people. I miss them very much.

    Hey, Sweet Girl! It is a process…long and arduous, but well worth it!! I love doing life with you! XO

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