I’ve learned to manage my expectations for ‘special days’ over the years. Sometimes a Christmas will be full of grief or homesickness, not joy or laughter. Sometimes a birthday will be spent like any other day, minus a few extra text messages. Sometimes, a Thanksgiving will be spent home sick instead of feasting with loved ones.
Easter just passed, and I tried to temper my desire to worship with my church family. My soul was hungrier to celebrate the resurrection than ever before. It’s not the first year that death and dying consumed my thoughts at Easter time, but this year the hope of resurrection felt solid enough to plant my feet on, nice and firm.
Unfortunately, we’ve had some trouble getting the entire family dressed and out the door (sensory issues strike again), so I wasn’t sure we’d make it at all.
I texted a few friends to pray. I really want to join my voice with others’ today. An embodied celebration of a real bodily resurrection and hope.
Deep breath, then another. I laced up my sneakers and cued up an exercise video in my kitchen. I was determined to keep my body grounded and present in the moment. Jesus is alive, I am alive, and there is real hope for eternal life in a resurrected body.
I logged into my RevWellTV account (free worshipful workouts!) and, to my delight, my favorite instructors had a new course for April — a kickboxing workout with a theme of “Bringing Heaven to Earth.”
Sweaty and enjoying the motions of fighting, I tried to let my fear, frustrations, and sadness fuel my body.
Then during cooldown, Courtney instructed, “Plant your feet.
What if the kingdom of God is not something we have to work our way towards, we don’t have to keep striving to get it.
What if it’s as simple as God reigning over his people in his place. That means the place where your feet are rooted, standing right now. You could have a part of bringing heaven to earth. You could be a part of bringing God’s kingdom to the places that He’s called you. Seek the Kingdom of Heaven above all else.
That means making . . . the places that you already are — make those places, God’s place
. . .because they are.”
Y’all, Holy Spirit showed up in my dirty kitchen, achy muscles, and rattling breath.
I prayed over my home. This home is yours, God.
I prayed over my family. These are your people, God.
I prayed over my calling for this place and these people. I am yours, O God.
Use me to bring Your kingdom into this home – this family – as it is in Heaven.
Aub and I spend a lot of time praying for things that come up in our house (like sensory struggles). But, I felt convicted that Easter Sunday that I don’t pray as I ought for the bigger picture — the deeper, root-level goal that my home would be an outpost of God’s kingdom here on earth.
When struggles arise in my home, do I approach them with Jesus’ eyes? To see His image restored in us as image-bearers? To lay down my life for the sake of my beloved? For God’s glory?
I’m afraid I often ask for Him to solve my problems, to make my life easier and more comfortable, for my own sake.
I do think God wants us to bring specific requests to Him. I believe God cares that we struggle with hard things as consequences of the Fall.
But I’ve also learned, over and over, that Jesus is better.
Thirsting for Jesus, experiencing Jesus, is better than thirsting for healing. That’s where the truest joy is found. The greatest satisfaction.
Which do I want more: Jesus or being “fixed”?
It’s a good question to stop and ask every once in a while. Especially when we’re treading through seasons of desperation.
It’s easy to default into desperation for Jesus to just “fix it.” But this is stopping way too short of what God calls us to.
Do we want to be well? Yes. Of course, yes!
AND, the greatest wellness will always be found in abiding in and depending on Jesus in radical and desperate ways.
Amen. May it be so.