A Spirituality of Less

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders (Matt. 23:4 ESV)

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt. 11:30 ESV)

There is a way of being with God that is burdensome. It always requires more.

There is a way of being with God that is light. It always demands less.

I remember being in college and living with the former. Always feeling like I could never do enough. Always feeling there was more Bible to read, more lists to pray, more doors to knock, more good things to say “yes” to, more events to attend, more ministries to serve in. More. More. More.

It was exhausting.

I’m experimenting now, however, with a spirituality of less.

It is exhilarating.

Less Bible

I’m reading fewer lines of Scripture today than at any point in my life. But, through Lectio Divina, I’m reading deeper. I’m slowing down. I’m spending an entire week in a handful of verses. And I’m chewing those few lines each day. I won’t let them go until I hear in them every last word God has for me.

Less Prayer

I’m speaking far fewer words to God than I used to. I still have my prayer lists. But these days I’m just as likely to spend thirty minutes alone in complete silence with God as I am to spend thirty minutes talking non-stop to God. Centering prayer. Contemplative prayer. Solitude. Resting in God. Call it whatever you want. These days I’m talking less and listening more. Speaking less to God and resting more in God.

Less Doing

I’ve moved from a striving for the extraordinary to a commitment to the ordinary. I’m more persuaded than ever before that God does the large through the little, the significant through the small. I no longer feel that unless I do something grand and ambitious, it doesn’t “count” in the kingdom. I now see that the small, routine, and ordinary things “count” big-time in God’s kingdom.

Less Religion

It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that the essence of the Gospel is not religion but romance–falling in love with God and those whom he’s created. Nurturing this romance rather than attending to the fundamentalism and judgmentalism of religion is what fuels me these days.

I’m finding in this less far more than I ever imagined possible.