It’s interesting to me all that’s happening in the world is happening during the season of Lent. Lent is typically (for me, at least) a time of preparation and contemplation, figuring out what’s essential and cutting the rest out; and a time to draw closer to the heart of Jesus, who knew he would die for us. It’s also a time to grieve your losses.
I feel it. Do you feel it? The thickness in the air, the fear and anxiety, the disappointment weighing on our hearts. How many disappointments will we face and for how long? It’s heavy.
Like in Lent, people are evaluating what is necessary and what can be cut for the good of the community. They are grieving things they gave up or things they will need to give up if things continue.
On Ash Wednesday, I usually give something up for the days leading up to Easter. As I was reaching toward God’s heart to figure out what it should be, I felt like he said not to subtract, but to add. Make room for more. He’s never done that before.
I was to add time for reading works written by mystics. I would be giving up personal time for this, but the message was definitely: add.
What are mystics, you ask? A spiritual mystic is someone who’s purpose is for their soul to draw close to the heart of God in all things throughout their lives. Their writings are typically ethereal yet sturdy and solid. My favorites are Thomas Merton, St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and (though she’s not officially considered one but her writing tugs at my heart the same way) Rachel Held Evans.
Adding the mystics to my daily reading has encouraged me to slow down and contemplate the world around me, particularly during this world crisis. They’re calming me in the chaos and grounding me when I feel like the world is unrecognizable.
Maybe God had me add instead of subtract because he knew I’d be subtracting trips and freedom and security.
So this is my challenge: what can you ADD to your life to calm and ground you during this time when you feel like you’re giving up so much? What can you add into your daily routine that will give you the hope or joy or peace or silliness that you need right now?
Lean into what God can teach you in this uncertain season. He hasn’t left us. What will you add?