Simplicity in Lebanon
The Lord calls us to simplicity in Him.
So often in life we overcomplicate things. We overcomplicate our relationships. We overcomplicate our studies. We overcomplicate our desires. We overcomplicate our prayer.
But the Lord always draws us into simplicity. He invites us to truly be children. Not just because He is our Creator, and therefore we must be His children. Rather, He wants to teach us what it means that He is our Heavenly Father; He wants to teach us to live in a childlike manner, to avoid overcomplicating our lives… especially our spiritual lives.
The temptation to overcomplicate our spiritual lives is very dangerous. When we begin to over-analyze our prayer or become obsessed with perfectionism, we do not allow God to be God. We take things into our own hands, whether we realize it or not, and prevent ourselves from receiving the graces that God desires to pour out upon us. This is a direct contrast to the simplicity and childlike manner with which we are to approach Him.
"Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Children always approach the world with simplicity and joy. They have complete trust and see every experience, even the most mundane, as a great adventure to be had. Above all, they possess a natural humility which allows them to receive everything from the Father.
Being in Lebanon has called us away from our normal lives and our normal priorities. We have been forced to slow down and focus on the simple rhythm of daily work and prayer. For us Americans, life here at the monastery is a stark contrast to the culture of productivity and efficiency that we are surrounded with back home. Our American mindset is challenged in so many ways by the simplicity of community life. At this point, we can cling to what we know, or relinquish control and allow God to work.
With the changes of lifestyle and culture, the Lord is leading us to Himself in new ways. He is purifying us. He is simplifying us. He is forming us into the image of His Son. In all of this transformation, He is reminding us to be simple children. Our Father loves us more than we can ever comprehend, and He wants to bring us to fullness of life. This forces us to ask ourselves: will we be simple, say yes, and accept His loving invitation?