The Busy Life
Ironically, I’ve been too busy to write about the beauty of simple living. I read this article about a book that explains the joys that come out of simplifying our lives. But every time I start writing a reflection on it, I get distracted by something else requiring my attention. In the course of writing this article, I’ve been asked to help my son with a computer program, and the other with a Lego build. I needed to create a lineup for my youth soccer game and get involved in countless other responsibilities.
I walk a fine balance. I see the value of keeping life simple and try to adhere to that principle. I want to focus on those things that are truly important and keep me and others connected to God. That includes daily Rosary prayer, attending Mass, learning the faith, and always including God in everything I do.
At the same time, I participate in many activities because I believe in the principle of “if not me, who?” Basically, many things don’t happen if people don’t volunteer and get involved. I can’t depend on organizations and events happening if I don’t step up and play a part. AYSO needs a coach? I’m in. Does my parish need help with their live streaming? You can count on me. But being involved in parish life, family life, school life, and activities isn’t exactly a simple life.
I read about how we need to think of life as a constant river of responsibilities. Picture a physical river. No matter how many buckets and how much time you have, you’ll never be able to collect all the water in a river. The same goes with life — there’s always something to do. And sometimes, we just need to let certain things pass by and not dwell on missing them. But how do we know what to focus on in our never-ending stream of responsibilities?
I believe simplicity is found through prioritization. Inversely, it’s the lack of prioritization that leads to complications, anxiety, and unhappiness. Complexity is found when the foundation of our day is not God, but a football game, TV show, or video game. Even essential responsibilities like work, housekeeping, family, and community become more complicated when they, not God, are the priority. As I said in my recent Rosary talk, our lives need to be anchored in God’s truth if we are to have any real, meaningful happiness. Otherwise, we’re like a leaf tossed about in the storm.
Letting God Prioritize Your Day
Let’s take my typical day. I wake up and need to get my boys ready for school. I then need to go to work where people have many expectations of me. I then have some sort of responsibility in the evening whether it be coaching, a parish meeting, or just housework. I can’t do that on my own. It’s too much. I need help.
Prayer becomes my secret ingredient. I pray the Rosary in the morning, spend some time in Church after dropping my boys off at school, and sprinkle in the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the day. In those prayers, I put my day in God’s hands to do with it as He wills. I can’t pause my life. I’m going to spend every hour of every day doing something (even if it’s doing nothing). But rather than worry about how I’m going to spend that time, I ask God for help. And that makes all the difference.
Simplicity ultimately comes from trusting God. He will help you figure out what endeavors are worth your efforts. He will tell you what events are truly worth worrying about and which ones you can let go of. But God is more than a divine day planner. All paths to true happiness lead to Him. Like an efficient driving route, God helps us strip away all those “wrong turns” in life that cause so much undue anxiety, hardship, and frustration.