Clutter influences the way you work, the way you live and the state of your soul, too, argues megachurch pastor Bill Hybels.
Hybels has written a new book, “Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul” (Tyndale, Aug. 19), focused on helping people take a hard look at their life choices. His 20th annual Global Leadership Summit, which draws national business and religious leaders, began Thursday (Aug. 14).
The pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., Hybels talks about how to live a life anchored by the priorities that matter most. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.
Q: Your book is about simplifying your life. There are other magazines and books that recommend people simplify their life. What’s especially Christian about that idea?
A: The Bible speaks in several places about how we can misplace our affections. We can get caught up in the deceitfulness of riches. As Jesus was talking to Mary and Martha, he said to Martha, “You are anxious about so many things.” The idea throughout Scripture is that our concerns can be spread over a very wide range of issues, some of which are legitimately important, and many of which are not important in the overall scheme of things. What God is saying is of ultimate importance. Do we organize our lives around what’s most important, or do we dissipate our energies and start thinking there are hundreds of concerns of equal importance that capture our mind and hearts?
Q: Isn’t this another self-help business book with Bible verses interspersed?
A: This is about decluttering your soul. This isn’t about cleaning your basement or buying a new Day-Timer. This is saying, you can have a messy desk and an uncluttered soul and you’re in a better shape than the other way around. Some people walk around with enormous anxiety or their pulse racing and if you say, ‘Are you doing all right at work?’ they’re great. Yet they’re carrying around an unrepaired relationship. Until they get that fixed, they can’t unclutter their lives because relational rifts clutter up our lives and souls.
Q: You mention that you’re doing a modified Paleo Diet, focused on meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Do you think pastors should be getting more into their congregants’ health?
A: The Apostle Paul says in one of his writings, “Glorify God with your body.” Christ-followers, leaders or nonleaders, who are destroying their bodies by little activity, poor diet, lack of rest, and nobody talks about it, nobody thinks there’s a discipleship issue here. I don’t put this in the ‘Hey, this is the cultural thing to do.’ I say, ‘The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.’ Why do we say that that imperative does not apply to us?
One of my favorite chapters is about scheduling. The great truth in my mind is that a schedule is not so much about what you have to get done, but who you’re trying to become. That was one of the greatest simplifying revelations of my life. When you put a schedule together, and before you list all the duties and responsibilities, you say, ‘Who do I want to become in the next 12 months?’ You plug in the time it’ll take you, you fill in the rest with what you have to get done. If that subtle shift can be made, you can be helped in dramatic ways.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Sarah Pulliam Bailey