Holidays tend to bring out discontentment in me like nothing else. If it’s not advertisements selling the latest and greatest in Easter decorations, then it’s Pinterest making me crazy with recipes and cutesy flower arrangements.
I know the Sunday school answer: Jesus is enough. But busyness steals my heart sometimes.
You too, friend?
If you find yourself in a decorating and cooking frenzy this holiday, take a deep breath, pour a cup of something hot and put your feet up for a minute. Let’s take a break from DOING Easter and simply celebrate it.
In John 10, Jesus gave us the metaphor of a shepherd and sheep. Shepherds in the Middle East spend a lot of time with their sheep, bonding with them much the way we do with our dogs and cats. When they call, the sheep will follow them.
Jesus used the metaphor to teach us that those who belong to Him know His voice and follow Him. But there are others who would come to steal and kill and destroy (vs. 10).
I always thought He was talking about big things: persecutors, major temptations, catastrophes. Doubts, loss, suffering. Things that come along and make people turn away and lose their faith.
But I’m learning that little things can steal, kill, and destroy too. If we let them, they can become joy crushers. Here’s just a few I’m dealing with:
• Pressure to perform well on a big writing project
• Anxiety about several commitments and deadlines coming up
• Obsession with making Easter celebration preparations just right
• Working on improving my health
I’ve been in much tougher circumstances before. Relatively speaking, life is good. And still, sometimes I let the little things steal my joy and (if I’m honest) kill my hope.
But here’s the great news. Jesus didn’t stop with the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy—today I want to focus on the end of that sentence.
Abundant life isn’t about being a slave to our pressures and worries. I can only shake my head as I realize the irony of straining and striving to celebrate the holiday that is supposed to make us free.
He goes on to say that He is the “good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
And that is exactly what Jesus did for us. Not so that we could strive and worry. But so that we could live.
What does abundant life look like for you? I’m sure that it looks different for each person. After all He made us each with unique passions and desires.
But for all of us, abundant life means being free of the pressure to perform and to make everything just right.
Practically speaking, I’m the only one in my family who cares about getting each little detail of the menu right and all the other minutia that comes with holidays. The rest of them? As long as they get something to eat and we can enjoy some downtime together, they’re happy.
For this weekend, I’m going to focus on tasks I love that will bless my loved ones. (Buh bye, Pinterest!) I will choose to be present with them, focusing on great conversation and being together, rather than making everything just right.
In my case, that looks like saying “yes” to making strawberry-rhubarb pie and “Decorations? We don’t need no stinkin’ decorations!” Maybe it’s the opposite for you—you’d gladly forgo baking and spend an afternoon coloring eggs with tiny humans.
Either way, it leaves us time to listen to our Shepherd’s voice. To thank Him once again for the sacrifice He made, and for resurrecting our dead hopes and lifeless joy. More precious minutes to savor His words.
More time to focus on this great truth: We don’t have to prove our worth by striving. We are already enough because He is enough. And He’s already done all it takes to give us abundant life.
My prayer is that you enjoy a deeper connection with Jesus this Easter than ever before. If you have a minute, please stop by in the comments and say hello. What’s Jesus saying to you this Easter weekend?