Amy Carroll » Growing Spiritually » Three Sure Steps to Embrace Simple

Three Sure Steps to Embrace Simple

What are your memories of Kindergarten?

Even though my long-term memory resembles Dorie’s, I have clear pictures of swinging at recess, Kool Aid and cookies at snack and carrying baby dolls around the house-keeping center.

Kindergarten has changed a lot since the simple time when I was there. Kids today are expected to start reading, writing and ‘rithmatic, but in my generation, there was a philosophy that play built an important foundation for children. Teachers filled our 5-year-old days with the basics to develop our small-motor skills like coloring inside the lines and cutting paper hearts. The wee people circulated through centers “cooking” plastic foods and putting together puzzles. It looked like pure fun, but all the activities were designed to ready our minds for learning in the upper grades.

Kindergarten was a wonderful place. And as Robert Fulghum has famously said, everything important starts there. Kindergarten is a wonderful place… until you get sent back there from college.

Even though I believe that foundations are important, it has felt uncomfortable and a little demeaning to get sent back to the beginnings of my spiritual schooling. In the last five years or so, it’s as if I’ve been hearing God whisper, “Go back, Amy. Relearn the things you used to know.” God lovingly sent me back to Kindergarten.

I’ve gone back to the simple things. God loves me. Life is best when I trust Him. Belief is the bedrock for everything else. These simple beliefs are where I’ve experienced being re-schooled by God, and it’s been good. But honestly, it’s been hard too. It’s hard for a woman who has loved Jesus for 40 years to admit that she needs to understand Jesus’ love. It’s humbling for a Bible teacher to go from meat back to milk.

Yet it’s the path God’s had for me, and there are three things I’ve learned that I hope will help you go back to the basics too:

  1. Simple truths aren’t insignificant truths. Just because our babies lisp through “Jesus Loves Me” with trilling voices doesn’t mean we can skip this essential belief. The simple beliefs of our faith are usually the foundational beliefs. Just like with houses, sometimes our foundations need shored up after years of the wear and tear of life. Sometimes foundations need straightened from the weight of what gets piled on top. Our spiritual selves are the same. Revisiting the beginning can leave us “straightened” and refreshed.
  2. It takes humility to go back when we want to forge onward. I could have ignored God’s beckonings back to His simple truths, but where would I be today? I’d be more numbed and my faith would be more wrecked than it was a decade ago. It’s not fun for a speaker and writer to disappoint the “spiritual crowd” with simple truths, but any disappointment I’ve caused along the way has been a result of a soul that’s more well-fed than when I started this journey. This reminder from Paul makes it all worth it, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (I Cor. 13:1) I was missing love, and it required humility to admit it and go back to receive it.
  3. When we return to the basics of faith, we aren’t dumbing down. We’re leveling up. When Cheri and I were recording Grit ‘n’ Grace last year, she painted a word picture that has stuck with and comforted me in my journey back ever since she explained it. If you watch kids play video games, you’ll know that upward levels may look the same while being more difficult. Conquering each increasingly challenging level, no matter how similar they may look, is called “leveling up”. The journey through simple truths is the same. Each time I revisit the simple truth “God loves me,” I learn a little more about His love. I believe it a little more deeply. What looks like regression to others–and may even feel like it to me–is actually progress.

Simple has been hard for me in some ways (!), but I’m so glad I’m learning to embrace it. God’s simple truths have brought deeper love, greater trust and bolder belief into my life. My 2018 word is “pray.” I’m re-learning simple prayer, and I’ll share some of my early insights next week.

How about you? What’s your word for the year? What are you learning so far?


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  1. I’m resting in the Holy Spirit who gives me ‘joy in the journey’.

  2. Julie Martin says:

    Joy in the journey!

  3. Anne Lewis says:

    Joy in the Journey

  4. Joy in journey for sure!!

  5. Joy in my flops?. I lost my home in Ohio…My oldest son told me to come to Alabama and live with him and family to start over… After 4 months, We had an argument over a 10¢ sponge ( a sponge that I had purchased for the house but his childrens mother had written D I S H on and it wasn’t in the kitchen drawer ( jelousy, envy, bad spirit within), I got very emoty and stated: ” I’ll leave right now and go to a shelter!”; My son broke my heart when he responded ” Which shelter do you want to go to? I’ll drop you off on my way to work in the morning!”. So here I am, all the way across the country, alone with a few bags and no place to lay my head…. I had prayed on this move; and my intuition keep nudging me to hold off; But I wanted to see my grandson and granddaughter….So after 6 months, I hopped on the Greyhound and moved to Alabama… I had came to visit my son in 2015 to see my nwly born grandson and It was smooth at first, then his children mother flipped on me for No Reason then and after a month, I returned home to Ohio stating ” I’ll never go back to Alabama!”. But here I am!!! God in his infinite grab e and mercy provided me with an Angel here Right Now’ His Dad who lives in Alabama came that night and provided Shelter to me; Thanks be to God, Amen???… Because I knew No one here! Not even street names…This occurred on March 20, 2018. I’m Blest and still residing with his dad strictly as a roommate… Growing closer to My Lord My God… And I realize God brought me her to escape the ” Negativity” surrounding me all my life in Ohio to Do a New Thing’ here in Alabama?… I surrendered My Heart and Soul to My Lord… And even though my Son and childrens mother tried to draw me back into ” negativity”; My Love for God helped me to keep Walking Forward ?. And I’m getting my life together; one day at a time ?. I pray for my son and his family always and I Truly Love and Forgive them?. I would love to have some inspirational books to read.

  6. My word for 2018 is rest. It has been a challenge ….rest in the Lord is easily said but for me it is back to kindergarten! I am learning to give up control and to allow the Lord to lead and guide. His rest brings grace and peace. I am leveling up!?

  7. Thank you Amy. God is also taking me back over some things – and I am much older than you. At 65 and looking forward to retiring next year, I am still trying to ‘get my act together’. Only HE can do this with me. I work in a school so have heard this before but not applied in the same ways. Gratitude is my focus this year. Blessings, Patti

  8. I love this blog post and I love that poem. Such encouraging words. My word for the year is SIMPLIFY but I felt God telling me to use SURRENDER and make a sentence. So my “sentence” for the year is SIMPLIFY + SURRENDER = PEACE. Your words today reminded me that I have to surrender in order to simplify and going back to the simple truth will bring peace. Thank you so much.

  9. Dori Sheese says:

    What a wonderful devotion today!! Thanks for your honest words. I loved the line “Kindergarten is a wonderful place… until you get sent back there from college.” Made me giggle!!! I think my word for 2018 is also “pray”, I’ve just started Mark Batterson’s 40 day prayer challenge. I’ve only watched the first session, and I’m enthralled!!! I’m circling my marriage in prayer this next 40 days!! Thank you again, Amy! God Bless!

  10. Dana Sweatt says:

    Thank you for this. These words are so encouraging. Much appreciative.