Living Easter Joy

Sometimes I am in sync with the liturgical seasons; for example, this past Lent. Part of my plan for Lent was to identify and face my fears, and I spent time pondering what keeps me unfree and praying for the grace to let go of fear and grow in trust. It was a good Lenten practice.

But now that we are in the Easter season, I am feeling a bit disconnected.

Our daily readings from the Acts of the Apostles provide the backdrop for this season, capturing the reactions of the early church to the resurrection —stories of jubilation and passion for spreading the Good News. As I read these passages, the joy and passion grab my attention and offer me a standard against which to measure myself. Am I that joyful about the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection? Am I that passionate about spreading the word?

I am not feeling it. Perhaps I have not moved beyond the fears I recently identified. I think I needed an extension on Lent, a few more weeks to come to a deeper resolution.

One way I know that I am living in fear is how I relate to money—or the lack thereof. I don’t usually worry about money or even give it much thought at all. I grew up without money and have never earned a very high salary. I live fairly simply and within my means.

In one job, my board president called me “lilies of the field” because I trusted so completely that there would be enough money to do the work we were doing. At one point during a government budget standoff that upheld contracts, other programs like ours were laying off staff and cutting programs, but we continued on as if we had no money worries. I trusted, and God provided. It is really that simple for me. I have that much trust.

So when I find myself concerned that there might not be enough money, when I start to check my bank account daily or even worse, start thinking about a second job, I know something is off.

When fear infects my life, I know I have moved away from living in gratitude, away from awareness of God’s abundance. Fear is the antithesis of trust, joy and freedom.

Prayer is the antidote to fear. Spending time in prayer is what I need right now. Placing myself in God’s presence and allowing myself to know God’s love for me moves me back to living in gratitude, to remembering God’s abundance. In prayer, I hear God called me His beloved and remind me that I am more important to God than the lilies of the field. God provides.

In this Easter season when we celebrate new life through Jesus’ resurrection, I need to remind myself to stay focused on all the good in my life and to be grateful.

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6 thoughts on “Living Easter Joy

  1. Patrick

    I like the phrase “when fear infects…’…viewing fear as an infection. Anxiety is simply the short version of fear for me. As I get hungry, angry, lonely and hungry (like I have been recently), the short version becomes the longer version of fear. Ah, prayer and gratitude! Fear takes root in my body and I have medical conditions that would verify the mind-body-soul connection! Thank you Madeline!

    Reply
  2. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    We recently had two doctors talking about colon cancer at work. One of them talked about how cancer multiplies and consumes whatever is in the way. (The image of the pac man gobblers came to mind). I think of fear being similar and if I don’t stop it (through prayer and gratitude) fear will multiply and consume.
    Thanks for sharing, Patrick.

    Reply
  3. JustinSchaefer6688

    “Fear is the antithesis of trust, joy and freedom”. That is so true! I find it so difficult to trust that things will work out. I had been relying on my own merits and asceticism during lent, giving up this and trying to do that. I find for Easter, I have to tell myself that it is the power, grace, and mercy of God; to trust in this, rather than my own devices.

    Reply
  4. Madeline Bialecki Post author

    Justin, I think beyond human tendencies, we in our culture are hampered by the DIY mentality. Asking for help, admitting our shortcomings, etc. can be so difficult. Just showing up and letting God be in charge sounds easy, but, in my experience, I need to keep reminding myself to let go, let go, let go.
    Good to see you on Sunday. Thanks for dinner.

    Reply

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