“Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on.”
Being a little hyperactive and a type A personality meant I kept myself very busy as a pastor. For years I thought nothing of working eighty hours a week and still had time for my family. It seemed I even worked when I was sleeping, keeping a notepad by the bed to record my dreams.
Then God gave me the awareness that being busy was not a trophy. It was a distraction. Henri Nouwen gave up a shining career as professor at Yale and Harvard to work with adult mentally handicapped men in Ontario. He felt called to the simple life of service. This call to simplicity I read in his works attracted me and I read the gospels from a new perspective.
Jesus was a pretty basic man. He did not need much, owned almost nothing, and told His disciples to take everything they needed with them in a bag. In a culture dominated by ownership and self-elevation, Jesus would not fit. I knew this. His call to simplicity would be just too much for society. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that even the church would have some trouble with Jesus. So Brenda and I came to Tampa and we simplified our lives tremendously. Life really is a lot easier when you no longer have things you need to insure. We purged stuff, lots of stuff, and I purged a very busy schedule. No regrets, only gratitude.