Recently I took my nieces and nephew to the park. Of the five, Kaylee is the least adventurous. She’d be happy to sit in a swing for hours while the rest monkey around on a jungle gym, climbing and twisting and jumping and falling. But on this particular day she had her sights set on a tall, yellow slide. To get to the top of the slide she would have to climb 10 rungs of a metal ladder. And not just any ladder. This ladder curved in the middle so that halfway through her climb she would be horizontal instead of vertical, looking down at the ground instead of up at her destiny.
I watched with interest as she evaluated the playset for alternate routes. She studied the slide itself, considering whether it was worth the ladder climb. Finally she tested the metal rungs to be sure they were sound and, finding they were, began her ascent.
At just under three-feet tall it was no small task for Kaylee to reach hands and feet from one rung to the next. Three rungs. Four. Five. The first half of her climb was complete. But when the ladder bowed and she curved with it and could see the ground six-feet below, she whimpered. I was close enough that I could see her short legs shaking, close enough to catch her if she started to fall.
After a few moments, she pressed on, mastering the next five rungs until she was safely on the platform leading to the slide. Seconds later she was at the top of the slide, then the bottom and back at the base of the ladder ready to go again. She repeated this process a dozen more times, up the ladder, down the slide, up the ladder, down the slide, until her legs no longer shook on the ascent.
Like Kaylee, who refused to let a ladder and short legs and fear prevent her from reaching her goal, our writers in this issue are determined to press through any obstacle that stands in the way of their relationship with God. For some that obstacle is too much time on the Internet; for others it is too much time at the office. For some it is greed and materialism; for others it is an impoverished spirit. The answer for all is to simplify, but to one person that may mean dressing plain, for another to eat organically, for yet another it could mean being home for dinner or reading Scripture daily.
As Jim Wasserman shares (pp. 24-25), it isn’t our job to tell you the answer to simplicity, but to provide you with a question that will help you discern your own answer: What is preventing you from having the relationship with God you desire? We all have the ability to be as close to God as we want to be. Once you’ve answered this question for yourself, you’ll know how to simplify your life and be closer to Christ.