One year ago, the impossible happened. After weeks of hearing the words “pandemic” and “possible shutdown” mentioned in the news, my husband and I were away with family the week it finally began. I can still remember the almost ghostlike experience of our journey home: five-and-a-half hours driving through large cities and then miles of countryside where we saw few cars or people. Then life got even stranger as the world “sheltered in place” and even churches were closed. Rather than gathering together to celebrate last Easter, we were largely on our own. In fact, try as I might, I have no recollection of what we actually DID to celebrate Easter as the world went into hiding.
Since the shutdown, one phrase that became essential to how I approach each day is: “Every day is a Gift!” No matter how lonely or monotonous life gets or how crazy it becomes, when I remember that every day has been gifted to us by God . . . it becomes an adventure. As days, weeks and months passed, I found that when I kept my focus on the Giver of that adventure, I discovered meaning and purpose in each new day. With that spiritual discipline in place, I came to appreciate the concept of living with intentionality. What exactly does that mean?
- It is to be aware that as we navigate each day, we make choices–whether we realize it or not–and that they matter.
- To live with intentionality is to deliberately make choices that bring honor to God.
- Another aspect of living with intentionality, that I find most challenging (yet is absolutely essential), is to resist the temptation to grumble.
Giving thanks to God for His Presence in each new day and committing it to Him, frees us to lend support and encouragement to those He puts on our path. It also encourages us to be diligent in prayer. Finally, when we intentionally refuse to grumble, keeping our focus on giving thanks to God rather than on ourselves, we embrace His love and mercy that was extended to us on the Cross of Christ.
Where can we see the best example of living with intentionality? Jesus. I love this power-packed way the Apostle Paul portrays the mission and life of Jesus, encouraging Believers to follow His example:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage;
rather, He made Himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!“
As Easter approached this year, I asked God to help me be more mindful of Christ’s journey to the Cross and His Resurrection. (My goal was to make this a truly memorable Easter.) During Lent, focusing on the life of Christ (especially in the Gospel of John) reminded me that Jesus was never a victim of the Cross. No! On Palm Sunday, as people welcomed Him in triumph, Scripture tells us, Jesus wept.*. He wept not for Himself but for the hearts of people corrupted by sin, knowing that apart from Him there was no peace. On the night He was arrested, Jesus sought to prepare His disciples for what was about to come saying:
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 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.”
I found the following video (recorded two years ago by my church) to be a fitting compliment to traversing the Holy Week of Easter while knowing of the victory to come. Have a blessed Easter . . .❤️
All to His Glory!