In Search of the Undivided Life by Stephen W. Smith

 “Give me an undivided heart that I might praise your name!”—Psalm 86:11 It was the cry of David to live with an undivided heart. I understand his plea and lately his petition has become my petition. I find myself wanting more and more to live a more simple, integrated and meaningful life.  Let me explain.By simple I mean less complex. I mean smaller than larger. I mean slower than faster. I mean guileless—how’s that for resurrecting a very old fashioned word?  The more meetings; the complex demands; the pressure to be successful have taken their toil and I feel threadbare.  It all makes me feel divided and to throw in a few more feelings—I feel guilty when I let myself down and others--whose opinions really matter-- express disappointment in me, in life and in faith.By integrated, I mean this. I’d like to find a small band of pilgrims who could unite to have a regular time of fellowship where the conversation was honest, the prayers were heartfelt and the thirst was deep. I would like for these same friends to be a part of my church where I could see them on Sundays and hug them and be loved back by them. I want to be the church, more than I want to go to it.  There, I’d like to think of serving my true neighbor and living out the matters of faith that are genuinely important and vital. I tire of the buffeteria approach to life which says, “Take what you want—as much as you want and then move on.” Sometimes, I feel like I am living my life on a merry-go-round passing by people, places and events without ever really being able to get off the damn ride and sit a spell with someone you basically just like and enjoy and have an ice cream cone with—a sort of communion between soul mates.By guileless—I mean to be real, transparent and for this to be lived out in a reciprocal way. I mean to be the same on the inside as I attempt to live my life on the outside. I mean to be anchored to truth and integrity and decency. That kind of thing.This is a deep stirring in me.  All the travel—all the speaking—all the ministry events—all the mega-ness of so many places and people. It simply wears me thin. Do you know what I mean by thin? I mean it’s where you live your life in such a way that there’s no sustainability—no vitality—no real life—only the motions of life.I want the things that Benedict wanted in the 5th century. He said that living in a sustainable rhythm of life and faith is the ONLY way to really live. I so want the rhythm he described and lived. It's good to engage but we must also dis-engage. It's wonderful to have meaningful work, but then there simply must be rest. There is a season for everything. I want to live in seasons not demand that everything must happen now.I'd like to plant a garden this year because there are so many lessons in the soil. I”d like to grow a few tomatoes and then invite a few good friends to join me to feast on them one summer day not too far from now. They might bring the bread. One might bring the wine and there we’d sit in the shade of quaking Aspens saying quietly to ourselves, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”It is precisely the “this” that I find myself wanting right now.We stand four weeks away from my elaboration of this great them in the soon to be released, "The Jesus Life." I hope you'll join me soon in getting the book, reading it and joining me in the eight ways I explore to re-discover life--and how to really live!