Subtract to Multiply {The Grove: Small}

Subtract.

This word grew in weightiness as we talked and prayed through our Velvet Ashes Editors Planning Retreat this past weekend.

Each sensed a tugging in the direction of subtraction. One in the fullness of abundance, one heavy with expectancy, one in a season of shifting, one on the cusp of new openings, one in sweet obedience.

All in deepening dependency on the One who attends to our souls with sustaining care fitted to our needs and His desires for us.

As we considered passages of the children of Israel defecting in their worship to include other gods – ones requiring horrific sacrifices in unending demands – we were drawn to Yahweh. The One full of goodness who sustains and gives. All powerful yet rich in love. The glorious One full of mystery and wonder.

In quietness and rest we listened for the invitation to our hearts as we shut out distractions and lesser affections.

And the invitations were sweet and kind.

Subtract so I can multiply your influence.
Subtract and I will increase your joy in the ordinary.
Subtract to create room for the new.
Subtract in breadth so I can deepen and solidify.
Subtract in order to tune in and observe.
Subtract to allow Me space to inhabit.

This community we call Velvet Ashes is made up of women determined to follow Him into hard places and messy situations. To fight big battles and arm ourselves with courage in the struggle. We are bent on obedience.

But what if obedience in this season means sitting with Him, absorbing His goodness, marinating in His fragrance, delighting in the quiet rest of being with Him. Will we obey when His command is stillness?

Subtraction may not be your word right now. Perhaps you are in a season of wide expansion or rapid growth. We rejoice with you!

But if you are being pruned, stripped, weeded, may you follow the gentle deliberate movement toward purposeful less.

We invite you to consider what “subtract” might mean for you with these questions.

What would need to change about my pace to fit someone who longs to linger in the presence of God?

Where does my schedule allow space for listening and hearing from Him?

When do I notice my labor and rest being determined by attentiveness to His leading? When am I driven by needs and expectations not originating from our Father?

What about me resists subtraction?

What attracts me to the concept of subtraction? 

How will I respond to His invitation to me today? This week?

 

~~~

This is The Grove. It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art.  So join us in the comments.Link up your own blog posts related to “Small” so we can visit your blog. Click here for details and instructions.

Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesSmall. You can add yours!

8 Comments

  1. Ruth November 3, 2016

    I have been feeling really discouraged and limited by the “smallness” of my life. I am in a season that is so consumed by little kids – diapers and night wakings, toddler tantrums and home school and the incredible effort of getting everyone anywhere. I have been feeling a lot of this call to be quiet and meet with God in this space. But it’s hard when I feel like I am doing so little (or I am doing plenty, it’s just that it doesn’t seem very meaningful). Subtraction is hard – it makes me realize how much stock I put on proving my worth through what I do, through doing Big things that show Results.

    1. Patty Stallings November 3, 2016

      Ruth, I just read your blog post you linked to the Grove. Such a sweet, real glimpse of your life. You make me think of Jesus and how much of His life was lived in obscurity. Apparently He values hiddenness. I wonder how He will meet you in the quiet, small spaces.

  2. Jenilee November 4, 2016

    Subtract so I can multiply your influence.
    Subtract and I will increase your joy in the ordinary.
    Subtract to create room for the new.
    Subtract in breadth so I can deepen and solidify.
    Subtract in order to tune in and observe.
    Subtract to allow Me space to inhabit.

    That is beautiful. I love that Velvet Ashes helps women all over the world in this process. thank you!

    1. Patty Stallings November 4, 2016

      Me, too! Blessings to you, Jenilee!

  3. T November 6, 2016

    Helpful questions at the end. Thank you for those! I hope that you’ll often ask us specific questions in the future–it really helps me to apply the post to me right here, right now, and I’m not good at doing that on my own.

    1. Patty Stallings November 6, 2016

      Thanks! In the last several years, I’ve become a great believer in the power of reflection and I find my best reflection usually starts with a question. Somehow a good question creates space for God to drop insights and revelation in our thinking.
      Happy reflecting!

  4. Alison Ludick November 6, 2016

    Patty, I love the way you write! It causes me to reminisce about our coaching sessions – I appreciate and miss your wisdom! 🙂 Thank you for this piece.

    1. Patty Stallings November 28, 2016

      Thank you, Alison! Your words warm my heart and encourage my soul!

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