There are a couple of meaningful phrases friends have passed on to me over the years that I’m probably never going to forget. One such phrase is more of this, less of that.
Andi Ashworth, Art House America co-founder, told me about a time years ago when she and Charlie were at a retreat down at Laity Lodge during a busy season in their lives. Over the weekend, they were encouraged to reassess their lives and examine their hopes and dreams; all that they longed to add to the equation: more of this.
Likewise, if more was to be added, what areas could use paring down to make room for this new direction: less of that. It was a time of spring-cleaning in their hearts and lives. Cleaning out the cobwebs of the unnecessary, dusting off old and new dreams for their lives and intentionally adding in new priorities to fulfill their vocational callings in all areas of life.
I have been thinking about the less of that category with the season of Lent around the corner. It is challenging me to do my own version of a spring-cleaning as I join the throngs of others thinking about what to give up from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. This is certainly a good discipline, but it's also so easy for me to get stuck in the act of giving up rather than thinking about how this sacrifice plays a role in who I am becoming.
In the same way the season of Lent encourages us to add in spiritual reflection, I also want to encourage us to consider what could be added to help you and I live more imaginative and meaningful lives. Being a lover of words, I was thrilled to discover that the etymological roots of Lent derive from the Anglo Saxon word Lencten, meaning, “spring.” With this in mind, what could be added in these next six weeks to create growth in our souls by the springtime?
I wonder what it would look like in your own life to reflect on who you were created to be, and discover how you might clean off the dust of a long neglected talent, adding this creative pursuit back into your life as a spiritual act of worship. Instead of sacrificing sweets (although it’s not a terrible idea), could we sacrifice our time in one area to make room to pursue creativity in our lives? Could our sacrifice of working alone lead to a collaboration inspiring new ideas? Perhaps for some of you this is (gasp) a season to give up your ‘art’ and pursue relationships instead of being in isolation. I would venture to say that the beauty is not in what we sacrifice, but in what the sacrifice adds back into our lives.
More of this and less of that, working together in tandem to mysteriously bring us out of the barren winter season and lead us to the beauty of Spring.