The Simply Not That Complicated Life

Photo courtesy of Dazed and Confused Magazine
There I was standing before 40 or so wide eyed fresh young faces, faces that were elected as representatives for the student body at the university. I’d been given the opportunity to share about who I was my role on the campus, the work I’d started and the work I’d hope to continue. They listened intently, nodding often, and occasionally knocking on the table to signal that I’d said something they agreed with. Then the questions ensued and the second question posed was if I thought that a faith based university could truly be inclusive and love everyone.

“Oh of course,” I began.  “Last I read my Bible, which was this morning; there was no passage that said love everyone except _____________. When I find that directive I will let you know. Jesus was really practical and I’m pretty sure that his relationship status on Facebook wouldn’t read ‘It’s complicated.’”
Laughter ensued. “But I’m sure it wouldn’t,” I said.  It’s really not that complicated. We as humans like to complicate things but it’s not that hard.” There were more nods and knocks.
Photo courtesy of Jade Baker as pinned on
I fielded a few more questions, everything from the university’s discrimination policy not including sexual orientation regarding hiring practices, retention efforts, and how they can assist in my office’s work in creating a more inclusive and equitable community, and then was out the door and off to dinner with a colleague. “I mentioned Jesus and Facebook in the same sentence,” I said. I told my colleague exactly what I said and she laughed and said “But it’s true. It’s not complicated.”
We are intelligent, creative, gifted beings, us humans, yet it seems that we have a knack for using our intelligence, creativity, and gifts to complicate things. While the question posed by the student pertained to relationships and love, I think my answer about it not being complicated surpasses relationships and an ability to love and be inclusive. I think it definitely speaks to the ways in which we pursue our goals or choose not to.
I’m not pointing a finger because I to can be awfully good at using my intelligence, creativity, and gifts to complicate and delay achieving my goals. I can forego the rest I need in an effort to finish and then I don’t necessarily finish well or as well as I could have had I paid attention to my body’s need for rest.  There are plenty of times when I know exactly what I need to do, who I need to email, call, or schedule a meeting with, and yet I don’t do it. I stand in my own way sometimes. Sometimes I take the simple and practical and complicate it.
Photo courtesy of Style
Yet, I am learning that when I complicate things it’s usually because I’m afraid or anxious that I don’t really have what it takes. I worry that I won’t be enough or have done enough.  I am freaked out about an outcome and if I can stall long enough then maybe I can figure out how to manipulate things so that I get my desired outcome.  I’m also learning that when I complicate things I usually end up disappointed.  I use more of the limited resources I have such as time and energy but really to no avail.  Furthermore, there have been times when I’ve complicated things and in hindsight could see that I was and did more than enough.
I’m also learning that when I choose to go the simple and practical route, reminding myself “It’s not that complicated,” I tend to make choices with which I am more confident. I exercise better judgment because I am cognizant of what is at stake and not relying on the stakes to change or disappear if I stall. I am reminded of who and what I can control, myself most days, and very few things. This reminder helps remind me that I am enough.
The other night I had the privilege of attending a lecture on campus. The speaker shared his experience as a refugee. He reminded attendees that life is short and because it is, we cannot afford to spend it haphazardly.  “Know your vision for your life and make choices that align with your vision. If it doesn’t align with your vision, don’t do it.”
Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Jackson as pinned on
I started to utter “But it’s not that easy.”  Yet as I looked at the man before me, a man who was beaten and had to leave his country to escape death, a man who spent six years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia with access to one meal a day and forbidden to work or attend school, I instead  uttered “It’s not that hard Ahyana.”

The reality is, especially when it comes to living the lives we were purposed to live, it’s not complicated at all. It starts I believe with clarifying your vision or your purpose, and committing to making decisions that are in accordance to that.   It can feel uncomfortable at the start, maybe lonely if those who we want to get our vision don’t get it, or overwhelming.  However, I think in the long run we get to feel at peace, emboldened, and alive.  With each choice we make that aligns with our purpose, no matter how afraid or anxious we feel at first, we move towards an abundant life.  We get to know we didn’t hide behind the tattered cloak of complication we designed for ourselves. We walk instead in the glorious robe of purpose driven, vision clarified, and victorious life. 
Here’s to an uncomplicated week! xxoo

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