Tuesday, April 14, 2015

why I celebrate easter

Although the Easter season is "over," I felt it was important to write on it this year.  I'm not sure how bloggers write about things as they happen, but I figure I will always just be a belated blogger.

If you've been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that my faith is a big deal to me.  But I felt it was time to be really, really clear here.  I'm not quite sure I've ever come out and just said I BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.  I believe he is our only hope.

If you're not familiar with Christianity, this is the gist:   We are imperfect people that need a Savior.  Our human attempt at being good is not enough.  We cannot save ourselves.  We cannot conjure up a source of hope for ourselves that is eternal.  With God as our Savior - the one who is our good, the one who saves us, the one who offers hope - we are able to experience real, true, fulfilling life on earth, as well as everlasting life after we die.

Just a few years ago, I remember having a conversation with Colt.  I said it all out loud to him - the story of Adam and Eve, Jesus coming to the earth, the crucifixion, his Resurrection, the whole deal.  Then I said, "Why did all of that need to happen?  Why would God have chosen this route to save our world?"  Sometimes it's hard to make sense of it all.  And I get that it probably looks crazy to some of you.  And not in a "I'm a Christian, but I can like totally be cool and think Christianity is weird, too" kind of way.  I just get why some would call it strange.

Who knows what I would believe if I wouldn't have grown up around it.  For so many years, it was what I believed because it just was.  It wasn't until college that it became my own thing.  I understood what it meant to me and not what it was supposed to mean to me.  I truly believed.

Now, this "believing" is not all about what the mind can comprehend or understand.  It's about the heart.  In my experience, it's the state of the heart that determines whether people walk away from their faith or intensely run into it; not how much they know.  We can argue about theology and historical evidence and whatever else, but that conversation won't last long with me.  Those topics just don't rile me up and that kind of discussion can only go so far.  What you can't argue with is my story.  The changes that have happened in my heart.  The time the Lord supernaturally healed my body of all my anxiety symptoms.  The time I felt like I needed to say things to a girl I'd never seen before and when I did, she broke down crying and said, "I can't believe you said all of that.  I can't believe you don't even know me and you knew all of that."  The multiple times people have done that same thing to me.  None of that has anything to do with an excellent study Bible or a million years of seminary or perfect attendance in 4th grade Bible Drill.  None of it says anything about me.  It says everything about the Holy Spirit at work in my heart and in the hearts of others.  It's what makes this faith so exciting and unique.

This is my question for you this Easter - what do you believe about God?

Sometimes our perception of God is skewed because we think we're pretty great.  The depth in which we understand how imperfect we are reveals the depth of our humility.  If I believe I'm a pretty good person, and I have judgements on what everyone else is doing and no room in my heart to accept their differences, then it's not far-fetched to say I'm filled to the brim with pride.  I am not even open to the idea of God because I feel completely capable of doing this life on my own.

Sometimes our perception of God is skewed because of our relationships.  If I can't find it in myself to love people who are not kind to me or who have wronged me, it may be because I haven't been shown that kind of love by anyone.  If I am constantly experiencing failed relationships, I can see why it would be hard to imagine one - especially one with an invisible God - that would actually work.  The depth in which we understand God's love for us reveals the depth of our love for others.  If I attempt to understand the unconditional love that God has for me, then I am much more apt to give that love to others.

Sometimes our perception of God is skewed because of what life has handed to us.   Awful life circumstances can cause anyone to question the goodness or existence of God.  Bad interactions with Christians or church-goers can be a quick repellent.  If I believe that all the terrible things that happen in this world are because God made them happen, then thinking of God as loving and compassionate sounds ridiculous.

A negative perception of God is rarely based on the fact that we've been met with the true character of God and then decided, "Nope.  That's not for me." 

So what do you believe about God?

This is a conversation worth having.  Do you believe there is a God?  If you do, what is it that you think about him and what has caused you to arrive at those conclusions?  Asking these questions does not mean you are considering becoming a Christian.  And, on the other side of that, asking these questions does not mean you are doubting your Christianity.

I know that not all of my readers are Christians, and I love that.  If you're not, I hope you see this post as one of transparency and honesty.  I felt like it was time to put my beliefs out there plainly.  While this blog will not reveal everything about me or my family, I do want it to reveal everything about where I place my faith.

I live my life based on the fact that God made me, God put me here, God gave me a purpose, and God will be waiting for me on the other side.  There is more after this life, and it's way better than what this world has to offer.   

I believe Jesus changes lives.

There is chaos, sadness, and struggle in my life, no doubt.  But that's not it.  God always offers peace, joy, and redemption along with those things.  Therefore, all of my hope is in the Lord.  This is why I celebrate Easter.

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