I am woman, I am invincible, I am tired.” These words from a T-shirt echo the sentiments of many women. And it was an apt description of the hectic life Cynthia Heald lived as a younger woman, when she says the highlight of her day was often going to bed at night. When she realized she wasn’t living as God intended, she began to pursue a life of simple devotion to Christ, a “God-paced life.” What she learned (and is learning), along with her desire to encourage others to live as God intended, became the basis for Becoming a Woman of Simplicity, an addition to her popular Bible study series for women. TCW talked with Cynthia about what a God-paced life can look like amidst the pressures and demands of our busy world.
What does it mean to live a God-paced life?
As I began to study simplicity, I rediscovered . When the LORD is our Shepherd, we have everything we need, so we don’t have to worry. In that psalm he tells me to “rest in green meadows” and that he “leads me beside peaceful streams” and “renews my strength.” Leading a God-paced life allows the LORD to be our Shepherd so that we can go on the right paths that honor his name.
So to honor God, we don’t have to do more in God’s name?
That’s right. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s masterpiece, created “anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Pursuing simplicity doesn’t mean we don’t do anything; we do what God has planned for us, on the path he has for us, at the pace he has for us. That is the essence of simplicity—abiding in Christ, allowing him to guide us in what we do.
How might simplicity look for Christian women today?
Simplicity is having inward peace, quietness, and rest so that no matter what our circumstance, we’re at peace. Being women of simplicity doesn’t mean our lives are simple, so to speak. It means the Lord is renewing us day by day because we’re quietly listening to and spending time with him.
It looks different for different people, but it shows in our spirit. Paul says, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Instead of rushing everywhere, a woman with a God-paced life is wise in what she says yes to, so she’s not preoccupied, stressed, and always in turmoil.
It sounds wonderful, but tough to do.
It is. It involves waiting, abiding, and resting. It’s counter-cultural in today’s world. In the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived Eve with something nice and beautiful that she didn’t have, and he cast doubt on God’s Word. That’s what assails us. We find a multitude of things to do, but what seems to get crowded out is quiet and still time with the Lord. If you’re living a God-paced life, you’re able to listen to the Holy Spirit and connect.
Amy Simpson is author of Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (InterVarsity Press, October 2014). She also serves as editor of Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, Senior Editor of Leadership Journal, a speaker, and a Co-Active personal and professional coach. You can find her at AmySimpsonOnline.com and on Twitter at @aresimpson.