God has a way of teaching us something a million different ways until the truth we need to learn is pounded into our hearts and brains.
Let me expound.
Lent began the first of March. Decrease was the theme I chose to pursue these weeks leading up to Easter. Decrease of sugar, of resources, of achievements. A total decrease of self is really what it came down to. I was ready for me to be smaller, and hungry for Christ to become central to the entirety of my life. I opened my Bible, threw out the remaining Christmas candy, and began down the path of less.
I quickly realized that the lessons God wants us to learn aren’t followed by a mere three-step guide that includes saying no to cookies and having devotions every morning. He wants us to experience his truth in every way possible.
And so he began to teach me.
I’m in, what feels like, the longest semester of my life. I said yes to too many things and have found myself completely overwhelmed at all that I have to do. Specifically the hundreds of pages of accompaniment music I committed to learning for the multiple choirs, solos, auditions, competitions, and musicals I’m helping with. And then last week I jammed my pinky and have been watching my hand swell and bruise as I fumble through the notes at the piano. I couldn’t believe it when it happened. I’ve had a hard enough time lately, why add a hand injury on top of it? I am at the end of myself, I’m embodying decrease. And God has me exactly where he needs me so I can see His strength pulling me through.
My husband and I were on our way home late last weekend. Tired and preoccupied we both neglected to look at the fuel gauge until we were several mountain passes away from the closest gas station. The warning light came on and startled us out of our quiet drive through the dark night. We were a solid forty miles from a gas station and we had many uphill climbs to make before we got there. Decrease, God quietly reminded me. We were at our end of resources, literally empty and alone under a million stars and God’s sufficient grace. I’m convinced it was his angels who pushed our car up that mountain and to the gas station.
Spring barely exists in the mountains. While it seems like it has arrived everywhere else in the country, the vibrant colors of blooming flowers and budding trees are nowhere to be found here. We have brown, grey-brown, brownish-brown, and light brown. The lack of colored leaves me with a yearning to be somewhere else, somewhere with pink trees and yellow flowers and green grass to run in. But I am here, and the very world around me is showing me what it means to decrease. Less physical color, less vibrancy in the nature I’m surrounded with. We’re all waiting for God to burst forth.
It isn’t one of the most fun things to learn, but the more I learn about this concept of decrease the more I’m willing to embrace it and even to celebrate it. Less is more, because less of me means there is more room for God to take over. That’s why the Apostle Paul boasted about his weakness, that God’s power might rest on him. For when I am weak, then I am strong. I don’t want my perceptions of my own sufficiency or independence to get in the way of God’s work in me any longer. I don’t want my attempts to do it myself keep me from being empowered and fueled by the God of the universe. I’m ready and eager to continue down this path of decrease. Maybe you’ll join me there?