This "living simple" thing requires what some folks call "inner work." Although simple living (as action) can lead to simple living (as thought process), I want to focus here on the kind of honest, personal attitude shifts that can help you seek and maintain simplicity.
As I look at the simple livers I've known over time, it seems that they share some similar ways of thinking. They have the mindsets that I seek in my journey toward simplicity. Some thoughts about their thinking:
• They are usually humble, sometimes to a fault. They don't seek attention.
• Although they live in admirable ways, they are aware of their own shortcomings.
• They willingly confess that they are still pilgrims along life's way, and thus remain eager to learn from others.
• They find little joy in accusing or excoriating others.
• These folks are generous where it counts: In their offering of attention and time to whomever needs it.
• They work at simplicity with dogged determination, sometimes born of cathartic experiences earlier in life when they were living grand lifestyles.
• They are sensitive, aware, mindful about more than what meets their eyes or greets their ears.
• Their simplicity is undergirded with a sense of purpose that's manageable and realistic.
• They are short on rhetoric and long on example.
• They are willing to edge up to poverty, danger, ill-health to maintain a simple lifestyle.
I don't presume to know what inner work you may want to begin or strengthen, but I want to encourage you to name the simple living capabilities you already possess as already-existing blessings. And as you encounter simplicity adherents, observe their personal characteristics, seeking to imitate them.
One good place to start: "the mind of Christ."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers