complicated vs. simplicity

Posted: September 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

G and I were working on wedding thank you notes today out in the back yard in the gorgeous sun and delicious cool air.  I confessed to him that I had a stupid song stuck in my head – the “condom man” song (anyone remember it?  I tried to youtube it – it’s like a superhero song – but I can’t find it and I don’t remember ENOUGH words for a lyric search – just little bits and pieces of the words and the tune.)   He promptly confessed to me that he had had a dream last night of undergoing to guillotine for refusing to recant his faith.

Yeah, the spiritual giant and his dirty-minded wife.  LOL 

It’s actually an illustration (kind of) of what I wanted to share with you today, which is the value of exercising simplicity instead of being complicated. 

We are doing a series in our church on simplicity right now, and earlier this month, our pastor said, “Simplicity brings joy and balance, but complexity brings anxiety.”  To find simplicity, he said, we’ve got to know what it is to be loved by Jesus, just as we are and not as we “should be.”  With simplicity, he shared, our speech becomes honest and we develop trust and joyful unconcern for our possessions/the things that don’t matter. 

Over the weekend, I got an up-close-and-personal tour of the difference between simplicity and being complicated.  If you’ve been here long, perhaps you’ve noticed my awareness of the 2 different Karens that dwell within me.  One is fairly healed and whole.  The other is a broken mess.  No, I don’t have an actual “split personality” as dramatized in books and movies, but yes, there definitely are two sides of me that coordinate – or battle – for control.   How well I am doing generally depends on which of the Karens is currently in charge.  These days, Healed and Whole Karen usually runs the show.  But this weekend, Broken Mess Karen got hold of the reins and – dude – it wasn’t pretty. 

Something happened that stirred up some of the nastiest of my old baggage.  It was just a momentary leap of logic from one bit of frustration and discouragement to a sharp fall downward and a series of painful, scarring scenes from my past neatly arranged themselves for an auto-loop showing inside my head, thundering a couple of lies that felt bigger than me.  A lie about myself, and a connected lie about our relationship.  On some level I KNEW it was a lie, but that level was not accessible to my emotions, which were instantly a swirling mass of confusion and fear.  On some level I KNEW that I needed to take it straight to G and ask for help derailing it, but at the time it sounded so true that I was afraid maybe it WAS true.  That maybe I would ask for his help and he would say, “No, you’re right, I just didn’t want to say so.” 

So Broken Mess Karen was in charge, and every urging from Healed and Whole Karen to bring this thing to the light was met with basically a stubborn shake of the head.  No, no, no.  It already hurts enough, and I can’t bear if it hurts more.  Can’t do it, can’t face it, can’t confront it.  I will sit here and hold on by my fingernails and hope the storm passes.  I will pretend all is well and maybe eventually it will be well.  It was, of course, a foolish and silly plan.  My veneer kept cracking and G knew for sure that I was struggling – he just didn’t know how to help me other than stay with me and pray and be his usual sweet self, so that’s what he did. 

Finally, more than 24 hours in, I (barely) summoned the courage to tell him, “I am under attack from a lie, and I need your help to make it stop, but I can’t find the courage to ask you because I’m so afraid that it’s true.”  Basically, it was a sneak attack – Healed and Whole Karen squeaking the words out past Broken Mess Karen’s best defenses.  I was horrified that I had said it, and it took some prying on G’s part to get the rest out. 

Of course, of course, OF COURSE it was a lie.  OF COURSE he was quick to speak strong truth into it and to pray.  OF COURSE he wasn’t offended or mad at me and he didn’t lose all respect for me (all things the voices of doubt were steadily insisting would happen if I opened my mouth.)   Within less than an hour, all of the pressure and pain and fear and confusion were lifted off of me, and I was back to being calm and confident. 

I realized this morning that G and I were examples of simplicity vs. being complicated.  I was so DAMNED complicated in that passage.  Watching a reel of old hurts over and over inside my head.  Listening to the nasty little lawyer inside of me, building what seemed like a strong case of the lie being truth.  Struggling about whether to talk to G about it or not.  Imagining all manner of worst possible outcomes. 

G, on the other hand, met the big mess I was with nothing but calm simplicity.  He could have decided to be offended that I would even struggle with the lie.  He could have decided to be mad that I didn’t talk to him right away – that I was afraid.  He could have accused me angrily of not trusting him.  But all he did was listen, speak truth, and then let it go.  Because he did that, he created a safe space where I could be delivered from what really was a direct spiritual attack on one of my most vulnerable, defenseless parts.  He was all compassion and that was everything.

These rounds of meltdowns while I work through the fears I brought with me into marriage are humbling.  I used to think “being complicated” was synonymous with “being smarter,” “being deeper,” “being more creative,” or “being more intelligent.”  In other words, I thought it was a STRENGTH.  Scripture doesn’t praise being complicated, though.  Scripture praises simplicity.  I always thought simplicity was about being Not Very Bright.  But that’s not it at all.  It’s a focus on what actually matters.  It is wisdom.  It is REAL strength. 

I am so blessed to be married to a man who knows how to exercise simplicity.  A complicated lady like me NEEDS that hope. 

  1. Pam Spangler says:


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