I feel rather late in posting this, but sometimes I can be a little slow. (I have to find ways to use my blondness as an excuse occasionally.) Well, this Sunday (today) began my church’s annual 35-day spiritual journey. This is the fourth year we have done this journey and it is always a time where God is able to stretch us as a church family and as individuals. This year, I am going into this journey somewhat reluctantly. My spiritual journey lately has been filled with rocks boulders. I have spent a lot of time struggling with God and even more time being angry at, frustrated with and ignoring God. Being confronted with the 35-days journey is going to be tough, but I cannot tell me students to make this commitment and not follow through myself. This journey involves going through a journal written by people in our church and participating in spiritual disciplines, specifically fasting. I have been racking my brain trying to choose something to fast from and I have not been able to truly identify something. In the past I have chosen to fast from dinner, TV, and sweets. Other people have chosen make-up, Facebook, limited computer time, music in the car, etc. I think this year what I really want to fast from is distractions, which is hard because not all of my distractions are physical things I can turn off or avoid. Some distractions are concepts, ideas and feelings. These are harder to turn off. I want to fast from the distraction of hating how my body looks, being upset with my relationship status, and feelings of inadequacy. If I really could fast from those, then maybe I could experience God in a powerful way in my life. And so my choice for fasting segues nicely into my word of the year.
My friend Amanda started this concept last year. Choosing a word/idea to meditate on throughout the year. Last year she chose release and this year she chose rest. Our friend Beth has decided to join her and chose trust. Ever since Amanda’s post this year I have wanted to pick a word myself and try, but I could never settle on a word. Well, this weekend I attended a photography workshop, and one of the teachers defined photography as the “art of subtraction”. It hit me then, my word should be subtract. I want to subtract the distractions, non-necessities in my life to get down to the essentials. To subtract the emotions, ideas, and things that cause me to be unfocused, unmotivated and unfruitful. Instead of trying to add things into my life that do not satisfy, I want to subtract what is not needed to be able to truly identify what feeds me. I love that my word is coming from my passion for photography. In most art forms you take something that is blank and add to it, but with photography the subject already exists. What the photographer has to do is find a way to tell you the story with the least amount of … whatever is being used. Already, I have ideas of how I can subtract in my life. These are ideas mainly to do with physical “clutter” in my life, but I believe clearing out physical clutter can lead to clearing out emotional and spiritual clutter as well. I know this concept is going to be hard for me and in many ways I want to give up now, but I believe I would be more frustrated with myself in the end if I did give up and did not follow through. So I am asking all of you to support me in this endeavor. Ask me how I am doing, what I am doing to contribute or take away from my life. Hopefully, at the end of this year I will be reporting of the benefits of subtraction.