For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Too Busy to Breathe
Let’s be real: it’s crazy busy here at Victory of the Lamb. Holy Week and Easter just happened. We’re installing a new pastor next week. Engage & Encourage and Confirmation are the weekend after that, and Mother’s Day is in three weeks. My head is about to explode. I’ve been so busy that I literally can’t stand to waste even five minutes. In fact, most of this blog post was composed with voice transcription on my phone because I had all these thoughts jumbled in my head that needed to be written down, but my kid forgot his piano books at home and I ended up in the car 20 minutes longer than expected.
When I started my church communications position in February 2018, I joined some Facebook groups for other people who do my same job at churches across America. They were all in a panic over Easter and I arrogantly thought to myself, Why are you doing the job you’re doing if you’re going to complain about Easter? Now, over a year into the job, I understand their feelings.
Easter and Christmas are the two most highly attended services in a church year. So, they are basically the best and the worst times to work at a church. Pastors, church communicators, teachers, and other church staff members really look forward to these holidays, but they get so stressed out and bogged down with all the items on their to-do lists that they have a hard time staying focused on the true meaning of the seasons. Which of course, is Jesus.
Standards of Performance
All of us do something similar to this in different seasons of life. We hold ourselves to incredibly high standards, thinking that we need to achieve a certain performance level. Pastor Bill explains why: “We long for God’s unconditional love, but we try to earn it. And so, we punish ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually trying to somehow earn and show we want that love of God.”1
We impose these high expectations on other people besides ourselves. We expect our spouses to react a certain way to news or to a situation, and they don’t. Our kids participate in one too many extracurricular activities, and then we get frustrated when they complain or misbehave. Drivers on the road enrage us when they make small mistakes that inconvenience us. We are expect our coworkers to understand our feelings and our viewpoints even though we don’t actually take the time to explain ourselves.
We completely forget that the Resurrection is for us. Jesus died for us because we could never hit the expectations of God. Without Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we would never achieve the standard of eternity.
Remember the REsurrection
Our salvation is not on us; God knew we couldn’t do it on our own. [God] saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:5). So rather than trying so hard, let’s re-frame our thinking around the Resurrection. Because, after all, we aren’t God. Pastor Bill explains, “We have limitations, God doesn’t. God’s grace is unlimited. When we see our limitations and our brokenness, we understand the absolutes of God – his commandments are exact, his promises are sure, his ways and timetable are entirely his own, and his provision is complete.”2
Know that God loves you and is pleased with you as his child. Alex Mills of Pro Church Tools elaborates on how this fact can bring you comfort: “Just to rest in that truth, rest in that knowledge [that God is pleased with you], regardless of what else is going on, what you can control, what you can’t control, areas that you’re letting people down, in all of your own shortcomings, places where you’re not operating at your peak, in all of that. In all of the mess, in all of the storm, in all of the failure, you’re still loved. No more and no less than you ever have been, and that can never change.”3
How would your life be different if you live, truly live, like the resurrection is for you? How would today change if you took time to recognize what Jesus did for you on the cross? What impact would it have on your week if you thought about how Jesus leaving behind an empty tomb changes your eternity?
“Define yourself not by your performance but by your position in Christ.”1 Rather than trying to earn grace, let’s live in thankfulness that God gives us grace freely, with no strings attached, because God is love.
1 Limmer, B. (24 March 2019). High Expectations. Let’s Be Real sermon series. Retrieved from https://victoryofthelamb.com/sermons/high-expectations.
2 Limmer, B. (31 March 2019). What if… we believed without seeing. What If… sermon series. Retrieved from https://victoryofthelamb.com/sermons/what-if-we-believed-without-seeing.
3 Shearer, B. and Mills, A. (15 February 2019). How to survive a chaotic season. Pro Church Tools with Brady Shearer podcast. Retrieved from https://prochurchtools.com/how-to-survive-a-chaotic-season-in-church/.