When I was a kid, my dad used to say to me, “K-I-S-S, Jayne, KISS.” While some would like to believe that he was communicating love and affection for me, he was actually teaching me an important life lesson that I still need to hear: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” While the name-calling is unnecessary and a bit politically incorrect, his instruction to me is indelibly marked in my mind.

As a three on the enneagram, I have an incredible gift of complicating things. I get excited about ideas and quickly think of 10 ways to improve, change, and embellish each of them. Even when I accomplish a significant task, my mind immediately moves into overdrive as to how it could be made better. Once, just before arriving to a seminar we had given several times, I announced to my husband, “I don’t like how we present this material…let’s change it all!” Not only was there emotional and relational fallout from that experience between us, but I took what was simple and made it more complicated.

My tendency to complicate things also impacts my relationship with the Father. In college, I believed that understanding theology would improve my walk with the Lord, so I read theology books and learned Bible study methods. Later, when I felt distant towards God, I tried new spiritual disciplines and devotional classics that helped engage my heart. At one point when I was so angry at God, I tried fixing my intimacy with the Father by charting and graphing the Psalms. Somewhere embedded in my psyche resides the thought that there is a “better” way that will make all things right…and I can find it if I just try hard enough.

I don’t think this is just a “three” on the enneagram problem because Paul calls attention to it in 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NASB95): “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” How do I get so easily led astray from simplicity to Christ?

Three pitfalls in my own life move me away from a simple and pure devotion to Christ. First, my love of all things shiny. I get distracted by a new plan, a new way to think, a new chart, thinking that it will improve me or my current reality. But, new does not always equal better.

Second, I get distracted when I let second things (anything besides seeking FIRST the kingdom of God) become more important than Jesus. As Jesus, Crabb, Willard, Lewis, et.al, so beautifully explain, I have to measure everything against the question, “Am I seeking a first thing here or a second thing?”

Third, I get derailed from simplicity when I crave attention, to be noticed for my great idea, improved system, or desire to be the best.

Where do you get distracted from a simple and pure devotion to Jesus? I believe my dad would approve of a small change in his admonition, “Keep It Simple, Saint.” How can you KISS today?

 PRAYER: Lord, I pray that I may become a simple soul.  I choose to follow this path led by absolute trust in You and Your wisdom.  You know all things, dear Lord, and You will guide me every step of the way through the apparent complexities of life if I let You.  I do believe this.  Help me believe it with all my soul. I trust in You today.


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From Complexity to Simplicity
Gazing on Jesus, Basking in Love