Central to the Amish culture is something called Gellassenheit, a German word roughly translated to mean submission to the will of God. It is based on the words of Jesus “not my will but thine be done.”

The dimensions of Gelessenheit permeate every aspect of the Amish life:

Personality: reserved, modest, calm, quiet
Values: submission, obedience, humility, simplicity
Symbols: dress, horse, carriage, lantern
Structure: small, informal, local, decentralized
Ritual: baptism, footwashing, confession, ordination

I am not Amish but the concept of Gellassenheit appeals to me on some level. Sometimes I think we (me) care too much about appearance, posessions, and status. What does it really take in order for us to be happy?

Shelter over our heads, food in our belly, health, family and friends.

Does it really matter if we have the fanciest house, the fastest cars, food that has come from the other side of the earth? Of course it doesn’t.

I have been thinking about simplicity lately and the word Gellassenheit came to mind, out of the blue, one afternoon when I was struggling with a stressful situation.

I am now using it as a mantra of sorts, a kind of prayer, a whispered reminder to slow down, appreciate simple things, and to be thankful for the many blessings I have in my life.



I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. That was a really great post. There is certainly something to be said for a simpler lifestyle. I think you know I certainly appreciate the simpler things in life!

  2. I had not heard this phrase before, but I like it and what it represents. I've long been an admirer of Amish ways. It strikes me again that we seem to be on a parallel path. Just yesterday I found and subscribed to a blog called SMALLER LIVING ( And this morning, I subscribed to the Clutter Diet blog. Different viewpoints but to the same end. I find myself craving simplicity, both materially and in living my everyday life.

  3. I wonder where you get that attraction to the simple things from, Laurinda!!

    Sid, I'm off to check out these blogs as well. Interesting how our experiences seem to be so similar recently, isn't it?

  4. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

  5. I think I'll borrow this whispered reminder. Precious!

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