Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul is Bill Hybels’ newest book. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Bill Hybels is the father of Shauna Niequist, husband of Lynne Hybels, and probably most known for his start of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL more than 20 years ago.
We’ve been on a slow transition to simple living over here. We’re reading about slowing down. We’re beginning to say “no” more often. We’re learning that sometimes simple food is better food. We’re learning that we don’t need so much stuff, and that it’s okay to just let go of it. We’re learning that our time is worth a lot, and that it should only be given to things that are truly important and life giving.
We’ve found it’s a fairly straightforward task to unclutter our closets and toy shelves and bookshelves and cabinets. It’s a bit harder to unclutter our souls. What does that even mean, right? And to take it one step further, how DO that?
Hybels enters this conversation with a whole lot of practical advice. This book is an incredibly typical Bill Hybels book- down to earth, pastorally tone, lots of Scripture, and real life illustrations. Bill is a great, thorough communicator, and it’s obvious he worked really hard on thinking about what every single person on the spectrum of life could use to hear when it comes to simplifying (284 pages!).
He talks about external changes, internal changes, and of course how they’re all related. He discusses the need to find a job that fits you, saying “yes” to things you actually like and “no” to the things you don’t, to forgive those whom you haven’t forgiven (takes up lots of soul space) as well as cutting off friendships that aren’t healthy and making ones that are. While this book doesn’t live up to the “groundbreaking” promise that is on its dust cover flap, it does offer some good general advice with some helpful “action steps” for those of us who need some extra help getting from point A to point B. Overall, the information offered is pretty run-of-the-mill in the area of figuring out how to get the most out of life.
One section that I did find particularly helpful, though, was about life seasons. In it, Bill helps the reader to see that each life stage is really just that- a stage. It’s not going to last forever, and each one has it’s own benefits and limitations. To do life well, we must both recognize and understand what season we are in, and then life accordingly. Sure, sometimes those seasons are bound by age, location, age of kids, job, but other times these seasons are something deeper- a season of grieving, a season of doubt or wilderness experience, a season of loss, a season of simplifying, a season of giving– it could be a ton of different things! But, the most important thing is to recognize that, lean into it, and then to move on when it’s obvious the season is over.
So, perhaps this isn’t my favorite book of Bill Hybel’s (I’ve read quite a few), but it’s a good primer for those who are needing something to kick start their season of getting life on track.
Thanks to Tyndale for providing this complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
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