Less really is more. Only those who have nothing to prove and nothing to protect, those who have in them a broad space big enough to embrace every part of their part of their own soul, can receive the Christ. And Christ himself will lead us on this path.
Years ago, I remember thinking that growing in spiritual maturity was like taking off coats. It seemed to me that my early years were spent doing the opposite—layering on coat after coat. “Oh, you don’t like this look? No worries, I have another.” And on another coat would go. Until so many coats covered me up, I lost the awareness of what lay beneath them. There were just too many coats.
I remember the day it dawned on me that maybe there was more to my design than just being a wearer of coats. But in order to sort that out, the coats would have to be removed. And so, over time, one by one (some with great relish and some with great trepidation) the coats came off.
Little by little, details of my design were able to be seen more truly. Responses to people felt more like something that came from a genuine thought or feeling. But as coats came off, I wrestled with needing and not needing approval, with wanting and not wanting from people.
And yet, even through wrestling, coats continued to come off. In fact, to this day, they are still being removed one by one.
I’ll tell you something though. As the years have become numerous and the coats less and less, there’s a truth that stands out from many others and it’s this:
I have nothing to prove because, regardless of any other opinion, God looks at me and says, “You are covered in my righteousness. You’re good.” And right along with that truth, sits this one: I have nothing to lose because He finishes our conversation saying, “There is nothing and no one anywhere in this life or the next that will rob you of what I alone have given.”
The discipline of simplicity (focusing on Christ alone, refusing to be less or more than we are, turning away from simplistic living and choosing something different than hurrying along with the crowd) leads to embracing the freedom that comes with those truths. Freedom to move as the Spirit leads fearlessly and joyfully. Freedom to long for but not have. Freedom to be hungry and not filled. Freedom to give and not receive back. Freedom to walk unashamed, uncovered, without coats, in our own skin.
Why is this so important? Why not just stay safe (although a little smothered) and warm (maybe sometimes a bit hot) wrapped up in our coats?
Because we all have been gifted with a voice and a message that we alone bring to the world. Because, when God made you, He also created wonderfully good works that would delight your soul just for you to do. Because Jesus came, walked the earth, and in complete freedom poured out His life each day until He died. Then He poured it out some more. And He says to us, “Be like me. Do what I do. Live as I live. Freely. Lightly. Unencumbered by shame or fear. I made you to revel with freedom in this life.”
“So, what do you say, can I take your coat?”
ACTION: What might be some of your coat layers? How is God inviting you to enter into a new layer of freedom these days? What might He want to release in you, for you today?