Simplifying life with God down to its essence

Simplicity is about setting aside extraneous concerns and reducing things down to their essence. What if you could ask a great spiritual master to reduce things down to their essence? Let's hear how one such person would answer that question.
There's nothing like a crisis in life to give you an urgent need to simplify things. Henri Nouwen was known as one of the great Christian spiritual masters of the twentieth century. At one point, he went through a period of intense personal and relational upheaval. During that period, he had to reduce his life with God down to its essence. It was a matter of inner survival. 
If we could have sat down with him on an early spring day in 1988 and asked him to simplify the Christian life for us, he would have had a clear answer, born of his own crisis. Here he is talking to himself in his personal journal from that time...
Your main question should always be whether something is lived with or without God. You have your own inner knowledge to answer that question. Every time you do something that comes from your needs for acceptance, affirmation, or affection, and every time you do something that makes these needs grow, you know that you are not with God. These needs will never be satisfied; they will only increase when you yield to them. But every time you do something for the glory of God, you will know God's peace in your heart and find rest there. (The Inner Voice of Love, 24)
Nouwen invites us to pay attention to how we process things in our lives. At that time, he was dealing with his own needs for acceptance, affirmation and affection. For you, the triggers might be wealth or food or sex or romance or control or power or... You get the point. Especially with your triggering issues, can you notice when you drift into compulsive neediness? Can you instead surrender these issues to God and rest content in the satisfied silence of trust? 
When we trust God so much that we can rest in him, satisfied and not even needing to talk, we know we have found the Simple Way of Jesus!


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