I have just returned home from a wonderful vacation in Scotland with my husband and some good friends of ours. We had such a great time doing all of the touristy types of things from touring the richly ancient castle ruins steeped in scottish history, to combing the breath taking beaches along the banks of the frigid North Sea. We have toured through the elegant palaces still in use by the Queen and the Royal family today. There are wonderful cathedrals that were built back in the 1300s with their heaps of embellishments and intricate stained glass.
Of course no trip to Scotland would be complete without golf!!! Tons of golf! Walking around in the quaint little town of St. Andrews presented an amazing perspective on the vast history and how a place like this amazingly simple town could carve out what would become a top past time for people all over the world!! This town made golf!! I was amazed at the many famous people that have graced these beautiful courses and the thousands of historic events that have happened in this gorgeous seaside village over the centuries.
This lovely place, it would appear is the town that time forgot, everything it seems is exactly how it was hundreds of years ago. The hand carved architectures on the buildings are original and not done with the help of modern machinery of any sort. There is no giant Walmart or huge mall at the edge of town, nor is there any signage or billboards obscuring your view of the town's gorgeous cobblestone streets and marvelous stone buildings. There are no parking garages or over passes of any kind.
The Scottish people shop simply and healthily at small individual shops. There are small proprietor shops for produce, butcher shops, bakeries, and cheese shops. There are woolen mills and dress shoppes and repair shops each that has been a generational mainstay for many years. Gone is all the useless packaging, boxes and endless plastic bottles. Walking is the main form of transportation. People bundle up and get outdoors. The scottish live very simply and seem wonderfully happy.
The University of St. Andrews wraps itself through town with the same traditions and buildings that have been used for centuries still standing strong and brilliant in the rich sea air.
You need time; a moment to soak it all up and take it all in. The absolute definition of simple abundance!
We as Americans can get so wrapped up in our stuff. We want convenience at every turn. We are the throw away society. When something breaks we toss it and hurry to buy new. We buy bigger and better. We wait in line for the latest and the greatest. We buy way more than we need or can even use.
You cannot serve God and money.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in it all and we idolize our "stuff" like cars and phones, computers, money, even the designer name tags on our clothes.
We go after these items like owning them defines us. The more you get the more you want. It is like a bottomless pit. We want and we want! We are it seems, trying to fill a void that only God can fill.
For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.
God wants our hearts!! Period!! When we can let go of all the complexity of having and taking care of, and maintaining all of our stuff; we can concentrate on that which is really important. We can get overwhelmed and tired from keeping up with the Joneses. We can get sidetracked, and complacent and we eventually leave little remaining time to spend with with our loving creator. The rat race is a terrible thing, it's like a race without a finish line. One we can never get out of nor ever win.
To much stuff, to much to do and overbooked schedules can take over our lives and can become very burdensome. We even over book our children. We overwhelm them with to many activities, they get no down time and get frustrated. When we are doing to much we cannot do all things well. Sooner or later we burn out, run out of steam and we let important things slide. We need to do some sole searching and ask ourselves where our hearts are. We need to take action to let go of some of the things that are bogging us down and simplify our lives. We need to spend more time in the presence of God. When we can nurture our relationships with God and put him at the top of our to do lists, we will begin to make subtle shifts in our hurried days and relax in His comfort and we will regain our our long lost joy.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses His soul?
We never want to look back on our lives and realized we've missed it. Life is short, it's fleeting and we need to uncomplicate our lives and enjoy the little things. Take time to smell the roses. Be present in your own life. Participate, don't just go through the motions and crawl into bed at night crossing another day off your list!
Take yourself and the "What about me"? question out of the equation and ask what you can do to serve God and others today. I guarantee that when you do just that you will find unspeakable joy.
I challenge you to simplify your life, take stock of what's important and rethink your goals. Put God at the top of the list and the rest of the list, well....
It won't really matter much any more!!
Help us to simplify our lives today and to slow it down a bit. Help us to redirect our focus on to you and our families. Help us to realize what's important as we weed out the materialism that stifles us and our walks with you!!
Thank you Lord!
In Jesus name!