Monday, April 19, 2010

The Rewards of Simplicity - Book Review

The Rewards of Simplicity took me a long time to read. That's not to say it wasn't a good book. I just had a hard time reading more than a few pages at a time. Because it took so long to read and I wasn't sure how to summarize the book in it's entirety, I took a few notes for each chapter. The book was co-written by a husband and wife. The first half, written by Mrs. Pierce, discusses a practical approach to simplicity. The second half of the book, written by Mr. Pierce, addressed the spiritual approach.

Chapter 1 - Faith, Focus, and Function
The three keys to simplicity are faith, focus, and function. We start by having faith in God. Then we develop focus, which is "the ability to narrow our vision and concentrate on the moment instead of all the peripheral concerns that strive for our attention" (pg. 22). I really liked this quote that tied faith, focus, and function together: "If faith is the starting place for a simplified life, and focus aligns our hearts and minds to God's purposes, then function is the evidence of simplicity in the believer's life" (pg. 25).

Chapter 2 - Understanding Simplicity
What it means to be simple.
The difference between being gifted and skilled and how to develop both.
Having a simplification mindset.

Chapter 3 - Fasting for Simplification
Issues a challenge to take a fast from the media - television, movies, video games, and the internet. Intead, use the time for something else such as Bible study, taking a walk, or playing games with the family.

Chapter 4 - Simplicity and the Law of Love
Discusses dealing with other people, relationships.

Chapter 5 - Simplicity, Sabbath and Refreshing
Walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
Importance of the Sabbath.
This was my favorite chapter. The authors are not Adventist, but I've never heard a non-Adventist explain the Sabbath in such a way. I struggle with what it means to keep the Sabbath, to rest with God. This chapter made it very plain. Hubby and I are going to reread it together and discuss what it means for us as individuals and as a family.

Chapter 6 - Money, Possessions, Simplicity
A warning about being aware of our attitude about money (Matthew 6:19-21, 31-33).

Chapter 7 - Practicing Simplicity
Some practical ideas for moving toward simplicity.

Chapter 8 - Simplicity or Anxiety?
Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:4-9).

Chapter 9 - A Moment for Change
The author's (Chuck Pierce) experience with needing to let go of his anxiety.
A look at the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).
Steps to break down anxiety.

Chapter 10 - Stress Can Work for You
Look at Jesus' example of how to live life (Matthew 6:22-34).
"Jesus came and walked through much conflict, but it did not entangle Him. He maintained complete emotional stability and balance before the Father. He proved to us that we could alleviate anxiety" (pg. 148).

Chapter 11 - Faith: The Right Framework
The antidote to anxiety is faith (Isaiah 26:3).
"For me, simplifying my life meant simplifying my thinking so that I could live free from anxiety and learn to walk in the Spirit" (pg. 175).

Chapter 12 - Simplicity Can Be a Reality
Tips for keeping things simple while moving through daily life.

The last paragraph sums up the entire book: "Simplification is not about making life easier. It is about clearing away the cobwebs that obscure our vision. It is about choosing that "good part" and discarding the rest. It is about being free from the distractions that keep us from truly knowing and fellowshipping with our families, our friends and our God" (pg. 194).

I didn't agree with all of the doctrine in this book, but I wholeheartedly agreed with the theology. Pam Pierce has a way of talking about God that makes Him seem more real and part of everyday life. I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters she wrote.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing this book to review.


Kendra S-L said...

Greetings from a fellow Adventist wife! I am home from church today as I am due any day with my second child and sitting for long periods of time is not my m. o. right now :) I have been blessed by your review of this book on simplicity. I never thought about simplicity stemming from a faith that God will provide which subsequently alleviates any anxiety about not having enough. I think I shall check out this book! Thank you, and happy sabbath!

Cassandra said...

Happy Sabbath, Kendra!! Thanks so much for leaving a comment. :)

I am so excited to hear that you are due shortly and will be receiving a second blessing. I hope your delivery goes well!

The first half of the book was really good. I hope you enjoy it! I am still learning to have more faith and let God take care of us. It's hard sometimes, but well worth the struggle.