Sometimes I drink too much coffee.
And not like, “Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that extra cup in the afternoon because now I’m having a little trouble sleeping,” but more like, “I think my heart is going to explode.” Ever have that feeling?
It’s the feeling that your heart is racing, you eyes are twitching back and forth, and you have a pent up supply of nervous energy that needs to find an outlet. For me, at least, it only part of the time comes from coffee. But it can also come from the general pace of life, especially if you find yourself in some kind of leadership role.
In such a role, there are times when you feel like there are so many plates spinning in the air, so many tasks to attend to, so many different things to focus your mind and heart on that you can’t even begin. You feel crushed under the weight of complexity; you are in a tangled web of due dates, checklists, and needs of those around you. We are a multi-tasking people who are multi-tasking ourselves to death.
In those moments, when your heart is racing, your eyes are twitching, and you can’t tackle a single thing because there are so many single things, the psalmist has a good word for us:
“Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:5-7, ESV).
The Lord preserves the simple.
Drink those words in with me for a second. The Lord God preserves the simple.
What does it mean to be simple? Can that even be accomplished from the vantage point of leadership?
In our day and time, the word has a negative connotation. We have taken it to mean gullible and stupid. The simple are the naive who don’t understand the true ways of the world. They are the ones who are easily taken advantage of, and they smile all the while. But perhaps there is some good truth in our interpretation of that word. But that truth comes to me, and you if you’re feeling the weight of complexity, in the form of a difficult question:
Am I prepared to take God at His Word?
When I hear from the Lord that my acceptance in Him is sure and certain in Christ; when I hear from Him there is nothing left to prove because Jesus has proven it all at the cross; when I hear from Him that He will give me this day my daily bread; when I hear from Him that He knows how to give good gifts to His children even if we don’t recognize the goodness of the gift at the time; when I hear that nothing in all creation will separate me from the love of God in Christ…
Do I actually, and simply, believe it to be true?
Oh yes, the Lord does preserve the simple. And when complexity abounds today, then today is the moment to take a deep breath, and come back. Return to simplicity.
Michael Kelley is the Director of Discipleship at Lifeway, and author of Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life, and Wednesday Were Pretty Normal