Rise to the Occasion

Hi ~ I thought I would send this a little early as I hope it will be a good reflection for Holy Week. I haven’t had the best Lent. It’s felt a lot like wanting to run but not having the endurance I need. So many stops and starts and even meanderings into driveways to pet random cats that it’s easy to feel like quitting. But one of the things I love about God’s mercy is that it allows us to start again, wherever we find ourselves. So that’s where I am this Holy Week — laying down my failures and preparing my heart for his rising that redeems us all. So if you are like me and huffing and puffing to the finish line ~ keep going. It’s never too late. love~Lara

Sitting on the couch one afternoon, I asked God what his will was for my life. Trying to answer such an important question sometimes feels as amorphous as wondering what life will be like in another millennium or what ice cream flavor best describes my personality. It’s both too big and too maddening to solve.

Besides, I was recovering from a stomach virus and feeling particularly puny so the only answer that kept going through my head to the weighty question of what God’s will was for my life was merely to lie down. It hardly seemed like a directive from God. Even a self-help guru would perhaps find the suggestion counterproductive. After all, we are Americans. We stand up. We work. We get it done. Lying down is not a solid life plan for anyone other than a cat.

Yet when I think of the glory of Jesus’s resurrection, I realize it was only by laying down his life that his miraculous rising was possible. While seemingly paradoxical, I think this is true for us too. By laying down resentment, expectations, estrangement, disappointment, ego, and envy we make life better for ourselves and others. The triumph of Easter was only possible because of the surrender that preceded it.

Since infancy when we balled our tiny hands into fists, it seems like our instinct has always been to hold tight. Conversely, surrender is a radical act of love, none more so than Jesus dying on the cross for our salvation. For many of us, surrender sounds wobbly and weak. Or gazing at the crucifix, it just seems painful. So, I get the great reluctance that surrender invokes. Yet the plain truth is we can’t rise without first laying down what we were never meant to carry. There is so much in life that we hold on to that entombs us. The more we lay down our hurts, put to rest both big and petty grievances, and surrender our whims for God’s Holy Will, the closer we are to our own rising. Read more