For one reason or another I haven’t been focused on the fact that we’re currently in the season of Lent. However, last night while I was participating in my Spiritual Practices Course at Kavanna House, I was once again reminded of the importance of this season of the year. I love the way Henri Nouwen describes lent:
“Lent is a time of returning to God. It is a time to confess how we keep looking for joy, peace, and satisfaction in the many people and things surrounding us without really finding what we desire. Only Go can give us what we want and need. So we must be reconciled with God…the season of lent helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.”
As I had the opportunity to process this quote and a few others, God began to make it very clear that right now, more than anything else, I needed to focus on seven simple words.
“He must increase, and I must decrease.” – John 3:30
There was a time in my life when these seven words were simply a clever way of saying that I want more of God. Today, not so much. I’m still drawn to the more of God piece, however, it’s the “I must die” portion that has my attention.
The thing is is that I’m desperate for my false self to die, because I know that death in that way leads to the abundant life in Christ. But I fear that I will be sure to be so caught up in doing other things that I will neglect this vital part of the journey. Does that make sense? Although I have good intentions of allowing God to increase in every way, I find myself busy with all sorts of other activities that prevent me from focusing on what I must do to die to my false self so that I can live.
I agree with Ruth Haley Barton when she says, speaking of something that Thomas Keating once wrote, that “The good news is that ‘every movement toward the humiliation of the false self’, if we accept it, is a step toward interior freedom and inner resurrection.”
Seven words never meant so much to me. Seven words can have turned my world upside down.