In anticipation of Easter, I value the practice of Lent. I admit it’s very challenging for me as a Type A charger and maximizer. I’m wired to increase everything, so it’s truly a discipline to intentionally commit to a season of decrease.
However, during Lent this year I had the privilege of reframing my thinking through a challenging Word from Dr. Alicia Chole.
It was so timely and humbling to ponder John 3:30 and Dr. Chole’s reflections on this passage during my time of Lent.
Sometimes we misread the context of this passage:
Leading up to this teachable moment from John is an intense season of growth and success on the part of John’s ministry team. But in their busyness, they hardly realized they were simultaneously amassing a slow build of heart clutter. Clutter that kept them from seeing Jesus as He truly is.
Ever have someone copy you? Maybe even surpass you in success with their knockoff version of your work or ministry? Ever had the thought, “Why don’t you just stay in your lane?!”
John’s ministry team did too.
John and his team were famous and had the corner on the baptizing market. John even baptized Jesus.
But all of a sudden, Jesus becomes more popular. And John’s ministry team gets frustrated. Not only that, they think John should be jealous and frustrated too.
Yet John personifies wisdom. John 3:27—it’s not about me, not my lane. It’s always belonged to Jesus. Jesus’ success doesn’t bring me fear, it’s my joy. The only thing I fear is not following.
In ministry—this has to be our stance. Because culture tells us that when someone else enjoys success in what we think of as “our area,” we are told we should feel…
But in reality, this clutters our mission and weighs us down. Any or all of these in our lives will not only hinder our view of Jesus, but cloud other people’s view of Jesus as well.
Not only in the season of Lent, but on a regular basis we must practice sacred decrease. Constantly assessing and responding to the clutter in our lives.
It’s not easy to cut back, is it? Simplifying usually connotes unpleasantness, and often ends in feelings of failure—take dieting for instance or new year’s resolutions for another.
But in this case, decrease is holy.
“Decrease is the way we thin our heart clutter and thicken our communion with Him.” – Dr. Alicia Chole
My decrease is a sure sign of spiritual fruitfulness, not of failure. My life’s intention should be to point to Jesus, not to myself.
As I look forward to celebrating Easter this year, I’m determined that the best way to honor my Savior is by intentionally decreasing. My heart cry all year round, not just in this season of Lent, will be “Less of me, and more of You, oh God!”
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A former atheist, her raw faith and love for God’s Word hold the attention of saints and skeptics alike. As a speaker and author, Alicia places words like an artist applying paint to a canvas. Nothing is wasted. Every word matters. Heads and hearts are equally engaged. Alicia holds a doctorate in leadership and spiritual formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. In addition to writing and speaking, she is the founding director of Leadership Investment Intensives, Inc, a non-proft devoted to providing personal soul-care to leaders in the marketplace and church. Alongside her husband, she stewards a lakeside prayer retreat home called Rivendell and parents their three children in the Ozarks of Missouri where the stars shine brightly and their dogs bark loudly.