Bill Hybels’ book, Simplify, offers “ten practices to unclutter your soul,” in the following titles …

  1. From exhausted to energized
  2. From overscheduled to organized
  3. From overwhelmed to in control
  4. From restless to fulfilled
  5. From wounded to whole
  6. From anxious to peaceful
  7. From isolated to connected
  8. From drifting to focused
  9. From stuck to moving on
  10. From meaningless to satisfied

Hybels says …

Simplified living is about more than doing less. It’s being who God called us to be, with a wholehearted, single-minded focus. It’s walking away from innumerable lesser opportunities in favor of the few to which we’ve been called and for which we’ve been created. (2)

There are dangers in not living simplified lives.

If we don’t change how we live, our overcomplicated world will begin to feel frighteningly normal. We will become accustomed to life at a frantic pace, no longer able to discriminate between the important and the unessential. And that’s the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter. (3)

Hybels says the downside of our busyness is that we will be depleted.

Depletion harms the people around me, and it damages my soul. When you decide that you never want to live on empty again, you start paying more attention to the replenishment side of the equation. If you choose to live with more energy reserves in your life, you will disappoint some people. Trust me, you have to fight to keep your life replenished. No one else can keep your tank full. It’s up to you to protect your energy reserves and priorities. (11)

Hybels suggests “five bucket-filling streams”
1. Connecting with God
2. Family
3. Satisfying work
4. Recreation
5. Exercise (and diet)

I read a lot about exercise, so I was especially interested in what Hybels had to say. He notes …

Exercise and proper rest patterns give about a 20 percent energy increase in an average day, average week, average month. … If you’re not motivated to exercise for the purpose of physical health, do so as a simple, effective way to increase your energy.” (24-25)

One of my favorite sections is on managing the calendar. Hybels says, “A runaway calendar will keep you from simplifying your life” (30). “A simplified life begins with well-invested hours each day” (31). He says, “My schedule is far less about what I want to get done and far more about who I want to become” (35).

Hybels laments …

It’s too easy to fill our schedules with things that don’t matter—and neglect things that do. Simplified living requires purposeful stewardship of each day. (52)

Every chapter is worth reading. Throughout the book, Hybels talks about having a life verse. He concludes the book with a chapter on choosing a life verse.

A life verse should include some key traits: call to action, personalized, short and sweet, and hope-filled. After offering some guidance in finding a verse (for a lifetime or for a season), he concludes the book with a 13-page catalog of possible life verses. I have never chosen a life verse, but will give it some thought after reading the book.

In the last chapter, Hybels writes …

But simplifying is not merely intended to make your life easier—like uncluttering a drawer or closet might. You simplify your life for reasons that matter for eternity: to give clarity, purpose, and power to the things that matter most in this world. (281)

Good stuff!

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