There’s Got to Be More This Easter

I love Easter. I really do. But most years I am left wanting more. I tried to explain this wanting to some friends of mine, and they didn’t quite understand. What could be added to a great church service and time spent with family to make a great Easter… better?

It’s not that I want to fill up the time with more activity. I don’t want to decorate eggs and participate in egg hunts. Thank God we are past all that in our house. Oh, it was fine when we were in that stage, but we aren’t now, and I am glad of it.

I don’t want to attend more church services, or fill up my time with more commitments. I just want more…. Jesus, I guess. It’s just that there is so much build up to the celebration of the event, and it’s over so quickly, that I am often let down. I want more.

What Jesus went through for me (and you) was unspeakable. At least it’s mostly unspeakable for me. I don’t like to speak of what he went through. It was horrible, and to talk about it out loud makes me cringe. It makes me feel guilty. It was inhumane. We wouldn’t put an animal through what Jesus went through for us. It was so bad, we mostly choose not to think of it at all except on one day of the year we have oddly chosen to call “Good Friday”. Good? I don’t think so.

So Jesus endures all those unspeakable things for me, (and you) does what only Jesus could and would do for me (and you), slays the enemy, conquers death, comes back to life and lives triumphant so that I (and you) can live! And the only time I have to celebrate it is an hour or so on Sunday where, admittedly, I will get to participate in one of the greatest celebrations this side of heaven, (but only for an hour or so) and then go eat ham and fixins with my extended family. And that’s it. Done until next year.

Forgive me for feeling a little let down. Forgive me for wanting more. Neighbors… forgive me for today BLASTING Natalie Grant’s ALIVE until the rafters shake and the squirrels run for shelter!

I WANT MORE! I want Jesus to know that what he did for me does not go unnoticed today, tomorrow on Easter, or on any other day of my life. I am forever changed because he chose to take my punishment, to pay my debt, to die in my place.

I could not live a sinless life, or conquer death to live forever. I owe my eternity to Jesus, and I am consumed with gratitude today and every day. I don’t want more Easter, I want more Jesus.

Is it Good or Bad?

In the first couple of chapters of Genesis, we read about how Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for their disobedience. They did one thing wrong, and out they went. One thing. One tiny little mishap, and they were out. No three strikes. No second chances. No mulligans. They goofed on one point of order and they had to pack up all their fig leaves and animal skins and scoot. And God meant business. Not only were they out, He posted armed guards to keep them out. Adam and Eve seriously blew it.

So we couldn’t even get through one generation in the Garden before we were sent out to find our way in the wild world outside of the Garden. It wasn’t a great start, really.

I’ve been pondering this for a while. So Humanity eats from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and for our disobedience we are awarded the desire to judge for ourselves what is “good” for us, and what is “bad”; not only for ourselves but for everyone else, too. This was never supposed to be. This was a huge game changer. This changed everything. We were no longer completely dependent on the Lord. We could judge for ourselves, decide our own destinies, make our own way apart from our Heavenly Father.

No wonder we were expelled.

This was not going to go well for us.

So why don’t we just stop it? I mean, how often do we really get these things right, anyway?

Say someone loses a job, and immediately we decide it’s “bad”. Until another, seemingly better job comes along, and we judge that as “good”. Except we have to go back and ultimately say that losing the first job was actually “good” rather than “bad”. But then the new “good” job takes this person away from his family, requiring a lot of travel, and while on a business trip the person gets lonely and looks elsewhere for companionship. The home is destroyed. Suddenly the “good” job is now “bad”. But the person who has just lost his entire family hits rock bottom, and suddenly is caught up by his sin, realizes his need for a Savior, gives his life to the Lord, becomes reconciled with his spouse, and now the situation is seen as “good” once again. So was losing the initial job “good” or “bad”?

I’m tired. It’s all just too much. I don’t know about you, but how about we just stop it all? We can’t go back to the Garden. We aren’t even supposed to, but we can try to learn not to trust on our own understanding of things. We can try to stop over-thinking all this stuff. We can let what happens happen, and believe, as followers of Christ, that He is at work in it all, and it is all going to ultimately be for our good. And that should be good enough, right?

It’s Time to Get on the Move

I’m no fan of winter. For those who know me, this is no surprise. Every day of winter that passes for me is just one less day of winter, and one day closer to spring. This weekend has looked a lot like spring. It’s been sunny and seventy degrees. The squirrels and birds in my neck of the woods think it looks like spring, too. My yard has been a flurry of wildlife activity. My indoor cats have been salivating at the windows.

I say it every year, so if you have been a long time reader of Cracked Pot Pieces, you’ve heard this before.

I love spring.

Sometime back in December, God flipped the switch “off”, and when spring arrives, he has reached over and flipped it back “on” again. At least that’s how it seems to be. Once again, he’s starting things up. I like it when God starts things up.

It’s fun to watch God busy doing things. I love it when I am where He is choosing to do things. My advise to anyone who hasn’t seen God doing things, is to move to where He is doing things. Sounds simple enough, right? I think so. So here’s the deal, if God is not working in your life then you need to get on the move.

Maybe it’s time to do some spring-cleaning in your life. Get rid of some things, activities, even people. For some of you, those things are keeping you from seeing God at work. You are holding onto things that seem on the outside like good things, worthy things, but they are keeping you from where God is working. Want to see God doing some amazing things? Go find him. It’s not that He’s just not doing anything. Quite the contrary. He’s busy. Busy, busy, busy.

So often we just want Him to come to where we are doing something, and make things happen there. Pretty presumptuous, don’t you think? I’ve done that before. It didn’t work out too well.

We have to become God Chasers. Ever watch the show, “Storm Chasers” on the Weather Channel? Those idiots don’t wait for the EF-5 tornado to come to them; they go looking for the right conditions for their “perfect storm”, and then they run right into the middle of it all.

That’s what God Chasers do. They look for the right conditions for God to show up, and when He does, there they are, ready to run right into the middle of what He’s doing. I want to see God doing God sized things. And He is. In just this last year, I have seen Him heal and restore marriages that were beyond repair. Just this last week, I have seen Him heal disease that looked so very ominous. I have seen Him do things that I just can’t explain in my church. I like that. I like being right up in the middle of what He is doing. I want a front row seat, I want to feel the excitement, and get caught up in His momentum. Don’t you?

If its been a while since you’ve seen God doing God-sized things, then it’s time to get on the move. If you need God to do God-sized things in your life, then it’s time to get on the move.

What’s Your Personality Type?

I have an uncanny ability to ignore things that most people find hard to tolerate. I am a mother of four. This should explain this unique ability. For example, my twelve-year-old son is even now, in this very moment, having a drum lesson in the next room. Only a door separates me from all that beating.

My husband will often complain about noise in our house that, until he mentioned it, I had not even been aware of. It’s a definite gift.

We all have unique talents and abilities. Hopefully yours are more important than my ability to ignore generally annoying things. We have all been given unique personality traits, too. I was recently asked to take a personality test. It’s not the first time. Over the years, because of different things Matthew and I have been involved in, I have been tested for my personality type several times. One such test left me feeling quite like a gutted science class frog pinned to a dissecting tray. This test was so detailed and the results so eerily accurate that they creeped me out a bit.

The test I most recently took at work was quite a bit less invasive, but still pretty spot on. It’s the DISC assessment tool. Perhaps you have been asked to take it. If you go through the membership classes at my church you will have the opportunity to take an abbreviated version. In addition to taking a test to figure out what your spiritual gifts are, the church also wants to know how you will fit in best in your area of service. Knowing a person’s personality type helps in this.

I was and still am an I/S on the DISC assessment. I am an Influence/Steadiness personality type. When I read the description of an I/S, it does describe me pretty well. One sentence in the evaluation reads, “Looking good and encouraging others is important to them, as is following through and being obedient.” Looking good is important to them…?  Okay, it’s true. It also says that I am disorganized, so while I do like to look good, I often can’t find the shoes I want to wear. It also says I am witty… and that I love people and care more about them than the particular task at hand. Guilty as charged

I agree that it helps to know yourself and others in this way. My husband is a high D. He is dominant, direct, task oriented, decisive, organized, outgoing and outspoken. He always knows where HIS shoes are, and he often knows where mine are, too.

While we all can fit into some general category with regard to our personalities, we are all made completely unique. There is no other you and there is no other me, either.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

God has prepared some things that only you can do, and He has created you with uniqueness to accomplish them. You are the way you are by design. There was intent in creating you the way you are. Learning more about yourself can only serve to help you accomplish all that is set before you by God to do. You can build to your strengths and shore up your weaknesses by surrounding yourself with people who have different giftedness. It’s all a part of being a part of one body. As a part of the Body of Christ, we all have a role to play. Understanding ourselves and each other can help us play well together.

Aren’t You Tired of all That Jumping?

In a rush to get ready to go out one night, I pulled out some black jeans from my closet and began the struggle to get into them. It’s always a struggle, but this time I was having serious issues pulling them up and over my hips.

Serious.

Issues.

What in the world could have happened since I last wore these jeans? I wondered. Is it possible that I am THAT bloated? Or have I over eaten to the point that I can’t even pull my pants up over my hips now? Panic set in. My heart rate picked up significantly.

There was just no way I was wearing those pants that night. No way. Disgusted with myself, I pulled them off, held them up and looked angrily at them as if to scold the pants. It was then that I noticed something. They weren’t my pants. THEY WEREN’T MY PANTS!

The jeans in my hands actually belonged to my seventeen-year-old skinny son. They were his skinny jeans. I collapsed onto my bed in utter relief! His jeans had gotten hung up in my closet by mistake! Yes! No way were his twenty-nine inch wasted pants going to fit over my thirty-blah-blah inch hips.

I searched through my closet and found my black skinny jeans. This time I only had to struggle the expected amount to get into them. I couldn’t help but get tickled over my earlier mistake, and the immediate panic that had set in.

I had jumped immediately to the wrong conclusion. I allowed my mind to race ahead of itself to assume I had put on some significant poundage. It happens. In this case, it was no big deal, but sometimes our jumping to the wrong conclusion can be problematic.

My husband is often a “Worst-case Scenario” jumper. I tease him and tell him it must be exhausting all that jumping to the worst, and often wrong, conclusion he does. I blame the Boy Scouts. My husband is an Eagle Scout, and everyone knows the Boy Scout motto is to always, Be Prepared… especially for the worst-case scenario.

My philosophy is usually that the worst-case scenario rarely ever happens. (The earlier jeans incident notwithstanding.) My philosophy is rather, “Let’s not jump off that bridge until we have to.” It’s generally a much less stressful approach to life. I do realize that my pairing with the worst-case guy was completely by Design. I can generally talk him down from his perch on the bridge, and in those rare instances when the worst-case is the reality; he is completely prepared enough for us both. Go Scouts.

Reaction utopia is probably somewhere in the middle of the way I react and the way my husband does. Clearly, I can on occasion allow myself to panic unnecessarily and ignore my usual philosophy. It’s not pretty. Panic never is. It causes us to forget that no matter what we face, no matter how out of control the situation seems to be, it has not caught our Heavenly Father off guard. When those things happen that cause us to panic, (serious things, not tight jeans kinds of things) our eyes should turn immediately to Him for direction. The overwhelming urge generally is to jump first, but so often in jumping we can make the situation even worse. The Bible tells us that we can see only a part of the whole picture (1 Corinthians 13), while our God can see it all clearly.

Jumping to improper conclusions has never served anyone well. It’s close and expected friend, Panic, hasn’t either. If we are ever going to jump anywhere in a situation, it should be towards wisdom and the seeking of knowledge. It should be towards our faith in the One who holds us no matter the situation, and Whom is never surprised or caught of guard by any worst-case scenario.