A Minimalist Approach

At the core of what it means to be human is the need to pay attention to God … to observe and appreciate the ways that He is moving in our lives. However, our lives can become so complicated and busy and full that we miss what is really going on. On one level, all the busyness and complications are often an attempt to mask pain, hurt, and disappointment. On another level, they are simply distractions.

To live in that place where we are paying attention to God, we need to empty ourselves of distractions – physical, emotional, and emotional. In order to be “filled” with an awareness of God, we have to become empty. The problem is that no one wants to “feel empty” and over the developing years of our lives, every last one of us has learned ways to fill the emptiness … busyness, hatred, achievement, possessions, obsessions, addictions, helping others, volunteering, being well respected/liked, knowing more than others, etc. These things (whether physical, emotional, or mental) become realities that we honestly believe we need and when we are without those things, we strategize and strive to possess them again. Or, we spend our waking hours trying to maintain those things or acquire more.

There are times in our days when we feel that emptiness and what we do in those moments is key in determining whether or not we become aware of what God is doing. When I feel that emptiness, I can begin to strategize and mentally rehearse how I can fill the void OR I can say, “The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want.” Our emptiness is our great friend. It reminds us that there is only one who can fill and satisfy.

The great thinker and writer Simone Weil commented that “Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness.” If sin (as a concept) is living in separation from God and our emptiness is the place where we meet God, then sins (as actions) are indeed attempts at pushing aside the role of God in our lives.

In Hebrews 12:1-2, we read “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Learning to pay attention to God requires a minimalist approach. On Wikipedia, minimalism is defined as “movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features.” The most fundamental feature of who I am is that I was created and designed to live in the presence of God. I want to strip away anything that distracts because no matter how uncomfortable the emptiness might be, in the moment, to be filled with an awareness of God and what He is doing is infinitely (and I do mean infinitely) better than anything else in creation.


~ by Ted Wueste on January 27, 2011.

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