This year, Easter feels different. I’m not talking like 2020 when Easter was done distanced in homes, or even last year when Easter was done behind a mask. I’m talking in my heart. It just feels different.
Being on staff and serving at a church, I used to view Easter as the Superbowl of the Christian faith. Even people who don’t follow the NFL all year long watch the Superbowl. Easter is the one Sunday a year where even the people who don’t attend church all year long will come and participate. There was an air of excitement and joy. We were thrilled to see new faces and to share the Good News.
Now, after deconstructing from the toxicity and negativity of my previous church experiences, Holy Week is feeling a little lack luster to me. I used to count down the days until Holy Week and walk through these seven days with joy and excitement. Now, I don’t feel any different and that’s what makes Easter feel different.
I started to feel like there was something wrong with me. Like I had lost my faith or something. After all, that’s what I was told for years. If you don’t have joy at all times, you aren’t really living a Godly life. If you don’t beam with excitement at all times, you are negative and living worldly. If you aren’t looking for Gospel conversations at every turn, you aren’t a true disciple. As I struggled through these feelings, I realized I was struggling with the aftermath of the toxicity. The expectations that I would exhaust myself every day of the week for a month straight to make Easter services happen, only to turn around and have to plan a retreat and VBS with no break in between. The pressure of making sure every post, every flyer, every live stream, every conversation was just perfect because “they might not come back if you mess up.” The feeling like if a salvation or Gospel conversation didn’t happen, I was a failure.
When did we turn our faith into this show? When did we decide that in order to be a Christian, you needed to never doubt or have struggles that were hard to work through? When did we make it to where we judge someone’s salvation (which is a personal thing between them and God) because they have the boldness to admit they are having a hard time? When did we start taking a person needing a break from the ministry as a sign that they aren’t putting their full trust in God?
And do you know what God told me? Easter isn’t a show for the masses. It happened because God wanted to have a relationship with ME. Jesus didn’t hang on the cross and say, “See everyone! Look at me! I’m dying for you! Form a line up front and my apostles will be here for you to pray a prayer and be sure to pick up a special gift we have for you on the way down the hill!” He did what he did just Him and God and with each person’s heart in mind. And when Thomas doubted, he didn’t get kicked out of the group or pulpit shamed. Jesus recognized he was struggling and revealed himself to Thomas in a way that was special just to them. In a way that Thomas could understand in the midst of his doubts.
God knew the struggles I would face and he knew the experiences I would have. He knew that I would have to process through some messed up crap and that I would need time to find Him in my own way every day. Yes, Easter happened for everyone, but there is nothing wrong with needing time to find God for yourself. What do you hear when you fly? In the event of an emergency, put your own mask on before assisting others. How am I supposed to share Him if I struggle to see Him?
If you are like me and you’re struggling to “feel it,” don’t let the toxicity of people overshadow the glory of what Jesus did! There is nothing wrong with needing time. Focus on what Jesus did. Not for the whole world or for the big picture of the Kingdom, but for you personally. Find what that means to you. Because I may have some issues with the people of the church and the things they say and do, but I know that God is real and that Jesus died for me. Maybe stepping foot in a church isn’t gonna happen for you this year. That’s fine, because that’s not the only place God is. Maybe the thought of reading through the Gospels and the story of Holy Week is overwhelming to you. That’s okay. The apostles weren’t worried about reading the scriptures, because they were trying to figure out if Jesus really was going to do what he said he was going to do. God is patient. They needed time to process and it is okay if you do to.
Practical ways to process this Easter…
- Journal – honestly write out your doubts, your fears, your struggles.
- Spend time alone in a place that is special to you and just rest with God.
- Listen to songs that you know God speaks to you through.
- Make a list of ways you know God has revealed Himself to you in the past.
- Attend an online service if in person seems too much.
- Share your struggles with someone. If you don’t have someone, email us at email@example.com!