Simplicity -- this is the discipline that goes against our American way of thinking. It is to be content with what you have and know that you can go without. You don't need to keep up with the Joneses. In fact, most of what this society says you "need" you don't. It's funny that the more we are "blessed" with material things, we think we are so poor because we don't have what others have. We think that if our children don't get everything their hearts desire at Christmastime that we have somehow failed them. So we make sure they have an xbox, AND a PS3, AND a wii, AND a computer, AND Nintendo DS, AND all the latest games, mp3 players, cell phones, fashions, as well as persue these things for ourselves. We spend way too much on cars and clothes and housing, etc. No one is saying that you must live in extreme poverty to be godly, but is living in excess godly? Jesus didn't have a place to lay his head. Again, I'm not saying we need to be extreme and homeless to achieve Christlike-ness. But we have lost our generosity. We have to have so much stuff that we don't have anything to give to others. Now that sounds totally irrational doesn't it? But it's true. We can't or don't give to others because it means we'll have to give up something for ourselves or our kids. What are we teaching them? Live moderately, not in excess. Learn to be generous. Be content with what you have. Don't seek to have things just to have things. Don't think you need something when it is simply a want. Simplicity.
Solitude -- This one is also called silence. It doesn't always mean you have to be alone, but you do have to get alone with your thoughts and learn how not to always have something to say. This one is difficult for me, I must admit. After all, my nickname in high school was "peanut gallery". If you know me, you know I ALWAYS have something to say. One of the things that is difficult for most people I know is not to explain their actions or defend themselves with words. Sometimes we shouldn't speak. If we have followed God's direction and you get "attacked", why do we feel the need to offer our own defense. God will be our defender. We can't handle the silence or the awkward silences between people, but how can God lead us in words if we use idle talk to fill up the time and space. Learn to be quiet and alone with God in your thoughts and He well help you bridle your tongue.
What say you?