“Keep It Simple” by Jim Ricci, Pastor of Counseling

“Simplified Living requires more than just organizing your closets or cleaning out your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul.”  According to pastor Bill Hybels, untangling oneself from the complicated web of life is not for the faint of heart.  But it is for those who yearn for a life filled with meaning and not just busyness.  There are no short cuts, but there are tangible steps one can take that will make a lasting impact.

First, recognize that the “modern definition of failure, is succeeding at life, in things that don’t really matter.”  (Dr. Timothy Clinton).  You see, burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction are symptoms of a bucket that is too full.  How depleted are you?  Do you become irritated at minor infractions?  Do the words overwhelmed, exhausted, joyless, resentment, burnout; strike a chord deep within your soul?  Then perhaps taking a look at the “leaks” in your bucket would be a good place to begin.

We are never at our best when we are depleted, so it makes sense that we need to own responsibility for filling our own buckets.  No one else can do it for us.  Bill Hybels suggests five replenishing activities.  Why not consider selecting two to start with?

  1. Connecting with a God who isn’t in a hurry helps me to simplify my life because time spent with Him is an antidote to “image management.”  When we are secure in who He says we are, we don’t have to endlessly try to “prove” our worth to others. Consider Gary Thompson’s book, “Sacred Pathways: Discover your souls path to God.”
  2. Build time in your life to appreciate and draw encouragement from your family.  Make time and write it on your calendar because if you don’t other activities will “demand” your attention.
  3. Regain a sense of joy in the calling work you are engaged in.  Ecclesiastes 5:18 says, “It is good and proper for people to find satisfaction and replenishment in their labor.” God did not curse work in Genesis, rather He gave us work to be productive, creative like Himself.
  4. Recreation: Re-creating—God wants you to re-create energy and vitality so you’ll be better and you’ll have much more to offer others. Write this prescription on your calendar; HAVE FUN- the doctor ordered it!
  5. Exercise increases not only your physical but mental well-being, energy levels and overall satisfaction with life. For many, this is the most difficult, but start small and you will notice a difference and remember the 2 degree difference: small changes over a long period of time equal significant changes.

Here are some next steps:

  • Take some time to have an honest assessment about how empty your bucket really is!
  • Craft a custom made (tailored just for you) replenishment plan.
  • Don’t allow your over-scheduled calendar to intimidate you!  Change is possible!  Go for it!


(Jim Ricci was the Associative Pastor and Care and Counseling Pastor at Cranston Christian Fellowship in Rhode Island from 1989 to 2017. He is now the Executive Director at Aletheia Counseling Ministries in Warwick, RI.)