Archives For Simplifying

Destiny School Uganda

Lately, I can’t get this face out of my mind.  The sincerity.  The smile.  The hope.  It just puts everything into perspective.  I had the great privilege of meeting this sweet young lady, Daphne, in 2007 during one of my trips to Uganda.  This was not my first trip – nor would it be my last.  But each and every visit brings new images, new relationships, and a new outlook for me.

Daphne, at this time, was living at Destiny Orphanage and Boarding School just outside of Kampala, Uganda.  I don’t know her backstory, but what I do know is she is truly one of the most joyous people I have ever met.  Perhaps that sounds strange – she was probably 6 at the time and I realize most 6 year old children are truly happy – but there was something noticeably different here.  In a country plagued by HIV/AIDS where children are without parents more than they are with – Daphne had a way of looking beyond her situation and choosing happiness over pity, joy over sadness.

At one point, I remember clearly, as the rain started coming down that little Daphne led a group of her friends out of class to orchestrate a song and dance for us, her new American friends.  What a humbling experience.  I clearly remember fighting my strange mix of emotions with both tears and laughter coming at the same time.

I have never been truly the same.  I am forever changed from those visits.  It is amazing how events like this can change your view on everything else.

But yet, it is still easy to get caught up in the daily stresses of life.  Easy to get sucked back into the “matrix” and forget to put things in perspective.  I can get so entangled and entrapped in what I need to get done today that I can forget the bigger world that exists.  Sometimes I forget the easy lesson I learned from Daphne’s smile, how to find joy over difficult circumstances.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  (Matthew 6:34 NIV)

Jesus never said we would not have trouble.  In fact, He guaranteed we would.  But, He gives us the commandment to not worry about tomorrow.  In the verse just prior to this, He tells us to seek first His Kingdom.

For me, I use Daphne’s picture to help bring me back to everything that matters.  The bigger story that exists.

I learned how to find joy in all things from a 6-year-old orphan from Uganda, and I am forever grateful.

Question: How do you find joy in difficult circumstances?

 

Finding the Simplicity

 

I can be very guilty of overcomplicating things sometimes…am I alone in that?  Or are there others out there who do the same?  I can take what should be simple and over analyze it like crazy!  I don’t know exactly what it is in me that drives this behavior, but even if I know it is a simple concept, I tend to think “there has to be more to it then that”.

I do this with the Word all the time.  When you stop to reflect on the Bible, we have a tendency to overcomplicate it.  But we are instructed to find the simplicity:

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted by from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)

I talk with fellow Christians all the time who say how complicated the Word can be – but let me challenge you today that perhaps it is our own selves that are making it that way.

There are a few key things I believe we must do to first grasp the simplicity of it all:

1. We need to believe the Word is true

If you don’t believe that the Bible is the true Word of God, then this can become an even harder concept to grasp.  If you doubt the validity of it – or believe it was meant for a different time period then ours – then you will doubt the validity of the simple truths it holds.  In John 17:17, Jesus declares that God’s Word is Truth.  The Bible is God’s Word.  Granted, we could afford to dig much deeper into this particular point – but I must save that for a future post.

2.  You need to be real with God

I want to let you in on a little secret.  God knows EVERYTHING about you.  Everything.  For some reason, when we pray or talk with God, we seem to forget this.  We put on a mask and try to hide our faults and our mis-steps – but He already knows everything there is to know.  You can’t shock or surprise Him.  Be real.  Have a real conversation with Him.  Tell Him you need help understanding His word.  He respects the authentic relationship.

3. Speak the Word

Start speaking the Word.  There is so much power in the spoken word.  Don’t just read it – speak it.  Declare it.  Make it personal.  Make it real.  Put your name in it.  Try some of these (note, I paraphrased some to fit):

I, Paul, can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)

I am a believer, all things are possible to me as a believer (Mark 9:23)

All of God’s promises to ME are Yes and Amen (2 Corinthians 1:20)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14)

The Lord has a plan for me – a plan to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)

Start there.  Start somewhere.  When you start to speak it – it becomes real.  It becomes simple.

Jesus wants to meet us where we are.

Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Rev 3:20 NIV)

Jesus comes to us.  He is pursuing you and I.  All we need to do, is let Him in.  Don’t overcomplicate that decision.

Question: Do you find yourself overcomplicating the simple things?