Chris Ackerman

It’s the Simple Things

The phrase “It’s the little things in life that matter” hits home with me. Lately, I have begun to enjoy the little things in life much more. I would take a good cup of coffee (or two or three) and a conversation with a friend over a trip to an amusement park most any day. I’m growing in my love for a good book rather than time spent on the internet. And I would choose to play ultimate frisbee any day over watching tv. I’m learning to appreciate the little things, time spent with others and time not wasted on useless things.

For the last few months of my life, God has been calling me deeper. He’s been asking me to simplify my life of all the distractions. In taking a hard look at my life, I understand that my life is cluttered with distractions. Before I became a missionary, I was always on my smartphone, checking Facebook, email, Twitter, etc. Any time I was home, I was always on my computer, either watching shows or playing video games. Don’t forget about the actual television, Xbox, iPod, going out all the time with friends, movies, new clothes, and new electronics. It’s gotten a lot better since I’ve become a missionary, but I still constantly find myself on my phone or computer on my days off instead of spending time with others or doing things that bring me to life.

Three months ago, we were journaling on the quote by St. Irenaeus, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” I asked myself the question, “What do I spend my time on that doesn’t make me ‘fully alive’?” If only I had realized what asking this question would put in motion! I began to realize that all the “stuff” that I had and many of the things I spent my time on didn’t really bring me joy and would never satisfy the deepest desires of my heart. It only kept me occupied. From that point on, God slowly began asking me to simplify my life so that I might become even closer to Him. He put the desire on my heart to get rid of the all of my distractions, and not to just fast or give up things for a time, but, like the Gospel of Matthew, to “go, sell what you possess, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mt. 19:21) Through much prayer and contemplation I knew the Lord was saying the same thing to me. In prayer, He said to me, “I want you to start giving up the things of this world. Start getting rid of the things you don’t need, especially the things that you don’t need in to serve Me. I want to purify you to become a saint. You are able, just be willing.”

The Lord has been so patient with me over the last few months, keeping the desire on my heart, convicting me that my life needs to look more like the Gospels. In the past few weeks, I got rid of my smart phone, over half my clothes and shoes, and my multiple gaming systems, and I’m still working on some other things to get rid of to get down to what I really need. I’m starting to spend more time on things that really matter, like people, investing in the lives of others in a greater way.

Is God calling me to give up every thing I have, like my car or computer or all my clothes? No. (Not yet at least. I asked.) Is God calling me to give up and be detached from everything in my life that is a distraction from my mission and God, Himself? Yes. Some people might think I’m crazy, and I probably am, but I’m happy. I am truly happy to live a life of simplicity. I’ve learned that I don’t need all the “stuff” the world is telling me that I need to be satisfied.

For me, it’s more than just the little things in life that matter, it’s the simple things. It’s simplifying my life to look more like the Gospels and to trust that God alone can satisfy the deepest desires of my heart.

How are you being called to simplify your life?

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Chris Ackerman

About the Author

During my last year of college, I felt the Lord's call to be a missionary so that I could serve Him alone. I'm crazy about the Church, and I love the Eucharist. My other loves are mowing the grass, a hot cup of coffee, and cooking great food. If you'd like to contact me, email me at [email protected]