(Annabelle loves driving her cart through the grocery store.)
“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.”
1 Peter 2:24 (New Living Translation)
If you tend to be a perfectionist like me, you probably also tend to set high standards for yourself, sometimes with expectations that may not even be humanly possible. Modern U.S. society promotes excellence in all things, sometimes even overlooking the health of an individual in the pursuit of professional and personal success. You might see these high standards often exhibited in professional sports, where putting your body at risk has become a common practice in order to win.
Sometimes Easter passes by quickly without me giving the holiday the proper respect it warrants. When the tomb boulder rolled aside to uncover the grave of Jesus, it was revealed that He had been resurrected on Sunday morning. He disappeared, and some feared this sudden disappearance of a missing body, perhaps someone stealing Jesus’s body out of the tomb. However, in Mathew 16: 21-28, Jesus reminds followers, even rebuking Peter, that he will be killed only later to rise again back to life.
There is good news that remains evident in the title of Good Friday! Many Christians reverently celebrate this Friday two full days before Easter. This day is often described as “good” because of the holiness of the occasion when Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of man.
When I feel pressure from society or even within myself to perform at heightened levels, Easter gives me a glimmer of hope to let it all go. Perhaps I still reach for perfectionism, which is obviously impossible. I try to still remember that God loves me where I currently am in my own journey with Him. It relieves my soul knowing that Jesus paid a price so that I would not have to. In other words, I try to be perfect and sometimes beat myself up for not being perfect or for not attaining certain goals in a given timeframe. These loathing self-transgressions are very much counterproductive.
Let’s be honest with each other. That impossible pursuit of perfectionism only leads to disappointment in results that will never fulfill the individual who seeks these insurmountable standards. While the Christian doctrine of the forgiveness of sins sounds so simple by principle, it still prevails that many individuals find it hard to accept. The gift of salvation is free in faith by simply believing in the dear name of Jesus and the sacrifice that transpired on Good Friday.
While there is sadness in death, there is freedom in this case. Christians are no longer bound by the performance of perfectionism in a task list or recorded goals not yet achieved. We are free from the bondage of records and self-imposed standards! We do not need to be our own worst enemy.
This devotional text does not mean to undermine the goalsetting ambitions of driven individuals. Rather, the intention serves to remind readers that God has given us the freedom to enjoy the journey in the pursuit of higher aspirations. Perfectionism is not achievable, however, appreciation and gratefulness for the price paid in the times before us sets the stage for a life well-lived in the goodness God gives us through His Son.
There is no need to be more, to do more, or to become more when God already reached the apex of sins forgiven. The best we can now do for ourselves is to enjoy the blessings and moments we have with those who cherish and love us most.
Enjoy the freedom that Easter provides in the reminders of a symbolic resurrection. There is goodness to experience this Friday. Like myself, do not forget the good in front of you. For me, that goodness is often experienced in the smiles I daily see in my wife, Lisa, and my chosen beloved child, Annabelle.
I hope these pictures remind you of the true meaning of Easter and that God is easily accessible to you in the words of a self-expressed prayer.
(While you cannot see Bryan in these photos, he is actually playing with Annabelle and poking her lightly in the belly. She is obviously enjoying these interactions.)
(Annabelle discovered "Kiki's Sugar Shack" but thankfully could not open all the packages to eat as much sugar that Mrs. Kathy Webb stored in the goody drawers.)