Hello Reader. I’ve had a great time sharing with you over FB live as we journeyed through the Easter season every Wednesday morning at 730am. If you missed those live broadcasts, the introduction post lists the books we referenced.
I was glad to journey through the 6 phrases or clauses of the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught his followers to pray. Our world needs justice, unity, love, and an end to oppression and starvation of every kind. This prayer showed us how to connect to the heart of God to partner in bringing this to our daily lives. This prayer can help us learn more about the heart of Jesus and discover more of what he was about and who he is.
Speaking of Jesus, this past Sunday was the pinnacle of the Christian liturgical year, Easter! On that day we celebrated Jesus Christ’s defeat of death and resurrection from the grave. The tomb was emptied, and he even folded up his grave clothes as he left. This event while spectacular is only the beginning. If this was a movie, the music swells and the camera pans to a sunrise while the words fade in and out on the screen, “Only the beginning”.
Why is Easter only the beginning? Because on that day the mysterious paradox is presented, where life follows death and we are invited to deepen our belief.
I blogged last week about how some Holy Week practices help you reach your counseling goals and those practices will help you intentionally go beyond Easter into the deeper belief. But not just through bible study, worship and prayer, but through intentional daily efforts.
To go beyond the Easter pinnacle means to take intentional effort to see the new life all around you. This is very hard to do if your current life experience is tiring, draining, or stress-filled. At those times we just want someone to care for us and we are not thinking of any extra efforts, much less have the bandwidth to consider where new life could be found. Not in our own efforts we can’t, but through the lens of the promise of Easter we can refocus to see more.
Go beyond the typical Easter experience and keep the momentum of seeking after God, celebrating His work, and community worship in your weekly life. Why? Because Easter is only the beginning.
This next season in the Christian liturgical calendar is called “Eastertide” and last 50 days. Why not take these next 50 days to partner with God to continue to intentionally set yourself up to experience new life in your daily life?
Here’s some practical ways to start this. For those with a “*” refer back to the blog “How Holy Week practices help you reach your counseling goals”
- Continue practicing the first dare I tossed out in the initial post of this series, “Wednesday mornings just got better! 7.5 and 7:30 – A 7 week devotional to Easter and Beyond”- set aside 10 minutes each day to be quiet before God
- Teach your soul to be still and receive from God
- Practice healthy, God centered self-care
- Pay attention to physical new life around you, whether that’s in nature, in your own body or life, or in others near you
- Keep a Gratitude Journal or a chronicle of items you are grateful for, and aim for 2-4 each day
- Take up a 50 day practice, similar to Lent, but instead of giving up something, choose healthy rhythms that promote joy, freedom, and celebration; maybe do 50 days of encouraging, affirming or celebrating others, or 50 days of learning new ways to be healthy in your body that affirm your made in God’s image, or 50 days of bringing freedom to others in small or large ways, …
- Learn more of your spiritual gifts by completing a spiritual gifts assessment and then start giving of that gift in your local church
- Connect – If you haven’t found a church home yet, grab a friend and go visit a few for 2-3 weeks at a time to determine if God would like you to connect there
- Look for ways God puts in your life to “pay it forward”
- Worship and welcome the presence of God*
- Give and receive the gift of presence*
- Attend a Spirit-filled healthy prayer service and witness the Holy Spirit doing His thang leading people with freedom and joy
Going Beyond to intentionally put yourself in the position to see new life around you will take effort. It will not however take more energy that you are already giving. It might mean you re-channel some of the energy that you have been putting elsewhere into these practices.
It can only get better and your belief will only deepen when you include these practices into your daily life and even more so when you welcome others to join you in the journey.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and with husband David Lawrence co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from Pexels.com, Graphic on Canva