Bigger 2016 celebration faith personal writing

There is (still) great hope to hold onto.

March 23, 2016

Easter clouds EG

I hadn’t planned on writing an Easter-related blog post, even though it’s my all time favorite day to celebrate. Truthfully, I have really enjoyed my blogging break and time away for more reasons than just focusing on writing my novel. I’ve found peace I didn’t even know my soul needed; it was hiding somewhere between the self-discipline and quiet, away from the noise I had somehow dubbed as “normal.” In fact, earlier this week I even deactivated my personal Facebook page – something I’ve always thought about doing but had yet to do. “It helps me stay connected to family and friends” I used to always say, my reasoning for staying on it. But then I realized, yes but it helps me stay connected HOW? Through deep and meaningful ways of communication? Uh, not exactly. More like, it gives me a false sense of staying connected through superficial means that only encourage my increasing need of instant gratification, and being “in the know” about things that don’t really bring any true meaning to my day-to-day and only seem to instill anxiety, anger, negativity, and fear. I’d been feeling so worn down and it was by no fault of my own. In the madness that is the upcoming election, there has been more negativity and hatefulness spread across people’s pages than ever, and yet I’ve been turning to this place (Facebook) multiple times a day. For what?! I’ve consumed myself with so much social media-ing in the last 5 years of my life and I can see now that it’s done more damage than it has good. It’s been only a few days of being Facebook-free and I can’t begin to tell you the breathing room I’ve found. I’m not sure I will ever go back to it.

It hit me while I was out for a walk on Monday that my brain was filled more with other people’s thoughts than it was my own thoughts. And what’s worse, hearing the truth of Jesus’ words in my head and heart had been hastily pushed to a place I could barely feel anymore. My heart felt heavy, sad. And while I’d open my bible and spend time in serious prayer, my heart still felt heavy. Just as the media twists and turns things and only lets us hear what they want us to hear (which is often fear-inducing propaganda), I had unknowingly allowed other people’s opinions and thoughts – and yes, fear – become my own. Their thoughts and words became my thoughts and words, and I felt paralyzed with fear for the future of our world. In short, I felt a hopelessness I’d never felt before.

And then- Brussels. My. heart. broke. Like, serious sadness. Serious fear. What is our world coming to? What if this just gets worse? What if it gets worse here in the states? Surely this is the beginning to the end of times. Where is the hope and reassurance we so desperately need? 

This morning, I got to thinking about how easy it is for us to veer towards fear than it is hope, or the truths we should know with all of our being. Is there some kind of innate response in us that makes us do this? I immediately thought of a newborn baby. Babies do not have the fears we adults have. They were not born this way, I cannot and will not believe it. I searched in my Bible to see what is said about this, and found this:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.   2 Timothy 1:7

Ah, proof that no, our souls were not created to have this kind of anxiety and fear. So where does this fear come from? I have to believe that it comes when we focus and rely on our own “understanding” and on the opinions of others, instead of on His words. I had forgotten how to quiet everything else and focus on the only voice that matters: Jesus. His truth is the only one that matters, the only one that counts. The only one we can trust, without a shadow of a doubt. And when He says that He is going to do something, when He gives us His promises – we can be assured that He will keep them. He will follow through. He already has.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake up again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Psalm 3:2-6 NIV

Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

And so, I will live not in vain or fear, but instead with love and hope, by His strength, in His truth, and in His everlasting love. PRAISE, on this upcoming Easter day for HE IS RISEN. He has already won, He has already overcome all that we fear, it is already done. And He will one day come back to gather us up – the ones whose hearts belong to Him – to take us home, just one more promise of Jesus that we can live in. There is still great hope to hold onto. And I’m starting to see that holding onto it might not be enough: we must make that hope a part of our whole souls, our entire being. We must cling to it as if our life depended on it. (Because it most certainly does.) How blessed are we to have such a hope to cling to?! As I enter into the days of reflection of Christ’s sacrifice for us – the greatest rescue mission in the history of the world – I choose to give thanks, to focus on His truths AND NOTHING ELSE, and to celebrate in praise on the third day when He rose again… is there any greater display of hope? Thank you, Jesus.

Easter 2016

More reminders of His promises & hope: Psalm 27, and here.

EG signature

 

(Update: Any specific mention in the comments section below of a political party or candidate will be deleted.)

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  • This is gorgeous. How good our God is. He is risen indeed!

  • I got chills Em…just what my soul needed to hear after the week’s tragic events. My heart breaks for the people who are grieving, hurting and even for the evil doers who insist on creating this fear in so many. I too was reminded this morning in our prayer meeting at school that we are not to live in fear. Fear does not come from above. Beautiful words. And Facebook…good move! I only get on for blogging groups, and even then, I need to step away at times to just breathe. Happy Easter!

  • Thank goodness we have Hope on our side. I can’t imagine a life without it. Love ya!

  • I needed this today. Thank you!
    I’ve also disappeared from online for a bit (besides reading a few select blog posts here and there when I have a little downtime) and it has been refreshing, like you said. The noise was just too much.

    • It feels nice to take that break and immerse yourself in the “real” world, doesn’t it? 🙂 I’ve been loving every second. Hope you are enjoying your time, Emily!!

  • Yes, yes, yes to your whole paragraph on Facebook. I especially liked your point about “staying connected” via FB is actually a superficial way of connecting to others that holds us back from deeper relationship. Preach, sister!

  • This is such a beautiful post, Emily! I love that 2 Timothy 1:7 verse…and I never thought of it that way. It truly is PROOF that we were not created to have this kind of fear! I’ve been struggling with fear and anxiety quite a lot over the last several weeks over many different things, and I deal with anxiety disorder and depression anyway, so it really manifests itself more when I deal with worrisome circumstances. I’m really going to try to hang onto this verse. And the other ones you’ve shared here! Thank you so much! Happy Easter! It’s my favorite holiday too :))

    • I’ve started collected verses (and writing them down in a journal) regarding fear and anxiety and worry, so when that starts to pop up, I immediately revert to the verses. There are so many of them – almost like God KNEW we would really struggle with those things! Hope you had a beautiful Easter, Emily! XO

  • Love this, Emily. Our pastor recently reminded us that during this election season (and always) we can’t allow ourselves to place our hope in any person. Our only hope is in God and his plan. And the bible says to give thanks IN ALL circumstances – not FOR ALL circumstances. He is a good, good father and we need not fear because of him and him alone.

    • So, so true. Love that, thanks for sharing. (Your note reminds me of the Chris Tomlin song, Good Good Father. Have you heard it?? It’s one of Christian’s faves!) Hope you had a blessed Easter!

  • Gosh I have missed you and your views and thoughts….so happy that the break is treating you well. You truly are using this time to reflect, grow, and write…I see it every time you pop back in here! Happy Easter! XOXOXO

    • XO. I have missed YOU! I am slowly making my way back here more full time. I have SO MUCH to read and catch up on, I am looking forward to it though 🙂

  • Emily, this came at the right time. Thank you so much for sharing during your hiatus.
    I have not been on FB for about 7 years. Yes, it would be nice to connect to family, sell stuff on those online garage sale things, but I love face time. And no, not the stupid Iphone thing, real face to face time. Connection at a deeper level.
    You are amazing and I am so glad you are getting the rest and peace that comes with taking a break!

    • Yes, real face to face time is the best 🙂 Thank you for the sweet note, Brittany! I’m slowly making my way back!