“Freedom of Simplicity” is a book written by Richard Foster, the author that put together the highly acclaimed book “Celebration of Discipline”. If you’re looking for reading that will challenge you to think differently in all that life throws your way, then you might be able to make it through this book.
Freedom of Simplicity isn’t as popular as some of Foster’s other works. It’s easy to understand why when you dive in here. There is much meat and very little milk (to use a well-known spiritual reference) here for the common person to digest. This is not the type of book you find at local Christian stores because it’s one of those that you must spend time with and wrestle with as you go through it. I couldn’t find the book anywhere I looked so I downloaded the audio book and eagerly began taking notes as I made my way through the nearly 7 hours of text being read.
Foster begins with a lengthy discourse in the spiritual background of simplicity before breaking the idea down into several areas of our lives. From money, to time, to our actions as a church; Foster challenges our thinking and asks if we really need all that we have? Is our acclimation to the American lifestyle forcing us to buy things we really don’t need and live in a way that takes resources away from really matters to God? Now before you think he thinks possessions are bad as a whole, that’s not the book’s message. Far from it. Instead, we are asked if WE really need the stuff. Can WE get around the need to have more so that we can DO more.
If you know me personally, you know my wife and I are beginning the process of breaking down our lives into a more simple style of living. I’ve sold many things I no longer need using online services like Craig’s List or UPillar. I’ve been selling off many of my books and purchasing only those I really want to keep in digital format. Becky and I are hoping to move to a smaller home in the next few years so that we can live debt free in the future and give all that we can to our work in ministry. All good long-range goals but it begins with a simple style of living. This book is amazing in that regard. Coupled with my recent audio book “The Power of Less”, it gives a spiritual dimension to much of what of that author, Leo Babauta, was writing about. When simplicity is looked at through the lens of spiritual things, clarity and focus result.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you with this warning: You WILL be challenged. The world doesn’t live the way that Foster writes about. In fact, some folks will think you are crazy if you do. But that’s okay. The peace and joy that can result as these ideas are implemented could change your life!