Subtraction = Addition
(I wrote this recently at the end of a church-wide fast as an email for our church…thought I would share here as well.)
The last number of months have been a challenging season in my personal life. Since August, I’ve been caring for a foster baby with very challenging and ongoing medical needs. As we got closer to January, and the fast, I felt myself despairing, “God, how can I give you any more right now? I am already so worn out and just barely keeping up with all the demands on my life. More? You want more? Weakness? I think I’m already there.”
I was feeling guilt sinking in as I thought about how I couldn’t take on a huge fast with only being able to eat certain things and/or complicated recipes and/or a big time commitment. I felt overwhelmed thinking about adding even one more thing to my plate (haha – fasting joke).
But then I felt the nudging of Holy Spirit, which instead, asked me to come into a different way of thinking…“Carrie, what if you approached this fast from another direction? What if instead of being bogged down with the addition of more things, you thought about what you could subtract from your life during this fast? Could you do that?”
Ummm, ok. Sure, why not?
So I chose my fast based on some things I could for sure subtract… one meal a day, my “highly favoured” sweets and a little game on my phone that I had been using as a “mind dis-connect”.
And, I just have to tell you…I have felt a new lightness in my spirit over these past 19 days. I had not even realized just how desperately I was in need of making some space for the strength of Jesus to come in and breathe life back into me. Since I’m being honest with you, I should let you know that these past 19 days have actually brought even more challenges with our little guy. But through the fast, I really am finding that His mercies have been brand new each and every day. I have been leaning into the faithfulness and presence of God.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
And this passage in Matthew…WOW. Did I ever need to remember to relax & remember that I live in a God reality that is not based on my external circumstances!
Matthew 6: 31-34 (MSG)
“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
It’s amazing how even in the midst of heavy circumstances, God can create inner lightness. It has been such a relief to this tired momma to realize that He wants me to keep throwing my cares and my burdens and my prayers onto Him. Perhaps you could also use this reminder today?
Because as it turns out, our kind of subtraction really does equal the very best kind of addition.