Revisiting “Decrease” (Word of the Year)

Just when I think the word “decrease” is making a dent in my life, I lift my head, turn the calendar page, and realize that half of 2015 is already history.

In the past five weeks, I have traveled to Washington DC, New York City, a conference in Fargo, ND, as well as a women’s leadership conference in Southern California. For a person who usually makes only day trips, this does not feel like a decrease.

Washington Monument

LOVE

All of these trips have provided sensory overload, and my work schedule is pressing, not allowing time for reprocessing the notes I’ve made on wonderful teaching. Even organizing my photos remains undone. Part of me wants to stop my daily commitments, yet God calls me to be salt and light in my world.

Cottonwood

As I drove home from the airport, part of the highway was designated “scenic.” Lush emerald, jade, and sea green leaves canopied over the asphalt, driving through a shaded tunnel, with glimpses of the river. Every so often a side road tempted to lure me down a rabbit-trail. But I had a goal in mind, and a desire to be home before the sun set behind the hazy, low Couteau Hills.

2013-07-22 20.02.17

A moment of clarity, the culmination of a progression of thoughts struck as I continued on my chosen course. My life must decrease to the things that help me reach my goal.

I can never…

… take all the travel vacations that sound interesting.

…read all the books that sound enchanting or enriching.

…tend all the flowerbeds that spring up in beauty.

…develop deep friendships with all the women that are truly delightful.

…spend enough time at the feet of my Savior.

So I must decrease…

…my expectations

…my distractions

…my focus

…sometimes even my involvement

It isn’t easy, this life-style we refer to as following Christ. We are disciples, ones who believe in and follow the teachings of the Bible, the Word of God. While the term is common, sometimes I forget that disciple and discipline have the same root. The on-line dictionary defines discipline as “mental self-control used in directing or changing behavior, learning something, or training for something.”

So it is a challenge. Consider what athletes put their bodies through for a competition. It impacts their activity, their food intake, their sleep, and even the time available for social interaction. Preparation requires focus and giving up good things that distract from their goal.

The Apostle Paul reminds the church at Rome “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Romans 12:1,2

So I take up the challenge for the remaining six months of 2015 to decrease the hundreds of good things, so that I have time and space available for the best, the work that God has prepared for me to do.

Team 365 at retreat center

If you have learned anything that helps you in your journey, please comment.

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