It’s the middle of January and I haven’t gotten around to making a list or choosing one word. The most I’ve done, in a new year sort of way, is bag up several heaps of unnecessaries and pile them in my closet.
Stuff multiplies around here and we have bags of evidence to our crimes against minimalism.
Metaphorically, I have bags of things-no-longer-needed inside my soul, too. Waiting for the right time. Waiting for the space to chuck them out and lighten the load.
The trouble is, I want to subtract some things from my life that probably are necessary — some hard things and uncomfortable things and things I don’t appreciate at the moment. I want to rid my life of things right now that may be the exact things I’ll need someday, and I run the risk of being a soul-minimalist.
I don’t need this struggle, this indecision, this heavy wet blanket of uncontrollable circumstances.
But who really knows? The manure of the moment may be feeding something in the future.
I do want to choose a word for the year and I am working up a list in my mind of less-and-more; less of this, more of that. It’s better for me than resolutions and I’m okay working on things for the rest of my life (I think). I am becoming less quick-fix and more habit-forming these days.
The only thing solid is that Jesus is again calling me to stop divvying up the hours of my day into for me and for God. All the good and bad and joyous and grievous things of this daily living are His.
I’m brooming it all into a pile again and again and I remember, now, that He wants me to delight in His will. In my mind, it’s something like all work and no play, and I constantly need repentance for this downright rude characterization of the God who made peacocks and orchids and sherbet-sunrises, just because.
There is victory in carrying our cross and I don’t even truly know what that means, but I need also to repent of seeing only defeat.
This spherical world is continually spinning out from center and we are constantly inflicting our own pain and carrying tools for bludgeoning, rather than building up. Only Jesus gives us a better perspective than just: defeat, always defeat.
He’s packing that bag for me. Decluttering. Making room.
Sunday morning I was praying through my sinus-clogged fog, preparing myself for church (because you just have to drum up some want-to sometimes) and asking God where my focus was off. In the realm of resolutions and less-and-more, what is the more I am missing right now?
Believe it or not, it was Instagram that was the voice of God to me. (Rabbit trail: I carefully curate my Instagram feed to inspire me, comfort me, and generally bring me joy. I don’t even consider it social media because that’s yuck. I don’t follow people just because; I don’t feel obligation; I don’t let comparison or negativity rule my time there. That’s all.)
Someone shared a verse and I really only needed the first portion — seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. There isn’t even a need for all these things that He promises to add; they’re bonuses to a life already brimming with mystery and goodness.
My first hasn’t been His kingdom lately and wouldn’t you know it, all these things have been missing. I’ve unwittingly minimized my soul by saving my time, worrying instead of praying, toiling instead of resting.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:33 NKJV
Turns out I like those bonuses and maybe I do need all these things, after all. I’ve been bogged down with the bumpy start this new year has given, missing all the things He’s adding because of all the things I feel He’s subtracting.
My grandma passed into glory Sunday, which could certainly feel like a subtraction — but I wish we all could go like she did. Peacefully. Painlessly. Quickly. She lived loving Jesus to the end and put up with her share of persecution for it; and now, it’s all glory.
All the things have been added.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” ~Psalm 116:15 NKJV
This year I look forward to seeking the kingdom first, making room for all the additions and subtractions God sees fit to give, because it’s all His and it’s all a gift in the end. Thank you for joining me.
Soul-minimalism just won’t do, folks.