Easter Sunday is always one of my favorite days of the year. When I was a child it meant that I was on Spring Break, and would get an Easter basket full of candy and toys for the week I was about to spend with my grandmother. We would play games, watch old game shows, and listen to my grandmother sing hymns such as “The Old Rugged Cross”. It wasn’t until after my grandmother died when I was 16 that I would really soak up the true meaning of Easter.
I’ve always remembered Easter Sunday as being a very beautiful day. It always brings me such joy, and it’s one of those days that I can truly feel God’s love surrounding me with the gift that He gave us all those years ago, and this Easter was absolutely no exception. However, this time around my perspective was vastly different than it has been. The past year to year and a half have been incredibly trying for me personally. I have been in an uphill battle with a mental illness, and I’ve been struggling to unpack my past and live God’s love for those around me.
You see, I spend a lot of time beating myself up for not being perfect. When I do something wrong I always wonder how God could love someone like me, but then Easter Sunday rolls around, and I am reminded, yet again of how much God loves me, and that He surrounded me with a group of people who are just as broken as I am to remind me of how much He loves and cares about me. One of my biggest fears within my church life is the fear of judgement. I’m always terrified of falling short of His, and, let’s be honest, everyone else’s expectations of me as a Christian. This is why I was filled with so much joy when Pastor Jeff threw out the Andy Stanley quote, “People who weren’t like Jesus, liked Jesus.” This assures me that by nature I am an imperfect individual who was saved by the very gift that Jesus gave us so many years ago.
I will be completely honest with you all, I have massive issues with the idea of forgetting the past and living for Him. There are days when my mind is plagued with nothing but all of the negativity that has been thrown at me over the years. It’s difficult to distinguish His voice from the voices of those who have oppressed me in the past, but if there’s anything that I learned this week it’s that God wants better for me.
Using the six pack of wisdom that Pastor Jeff dropped on us this past Sunday I can work through things like this: Jesus is the only way to God, and I believe in this whole heartedly. He wants for us to have an amazing life filled with purpose and freedom, but the enemy is here to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan will do anything to keep us from God, so I must remember that Jesus traded his life on Earth for my sins. He was sinless, but died so that I could have freedom. The crazy part is that He did this because He loves us. I think this is one of my biggest obstacles. In my experience, nothing is ever done for someone out of the kindness of their heart, but that’s the crazy thing about the love of Christ. It’s so vast that it’s difficult for us humans to wrap our minds around. This tells me what I need to do. I must do my best to strengthen my prayer life, be kind to God’s people (this includes myself, first and foremost), and make a point to live life in a more deliberate fashion. I want for the world to feel the joy I feel when I step into church on Easter Sunday and praise the Lord, so I must start with making myself more like Christ. I believe that spreading the love of Christ begins with the self and the ones closest to the self.
So, I challenge everyone to attempt to see yourselves in the way that Christ sees you. No matter how humans have treated you in the past, you are beautifully and wonderfully made, and He thinks that you are absolutely amazing. I challenge you to bring that love to your family, your friends, and your job. Shine the light of Christ on those around you, so that they too can see the wonderful gift He gave us. Take up your cross and follow Him because, I don’t know about you all, but I personally don’t know where I would be without His love and sacrifice.
Brittany is one of the young adult members at Skyline. You can usually find her serving coffee or doing odd jobs at Skyline. She lives in Arlington, Virginia where she is the assistant manager of a luggage store, and in her spare time you can find her reading or going on adventures in search of God's purpose.