Today is a joyful day in the life of Christians because we celebrate an event that forever changed our lives. Though the Cross seemed to signify “the end,” Christ’s Resurrection proclaims “a new beginning” for us all. It’s a new day!
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Unlike some people who make New Year’s resolutions, I find spring, in general, and Easter, specifically, to be a great time to think about making changes and starting something new. While nature shouts “new life,” we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the new life we have in him. New life in Christ should strengthen us and give us courage to step out in faith and do something different. Something meaningful, not to others necessarily, but to ourselves. It doesn’t even have to be anything huge or immediately life-changing. Do you feel the winds of change whispering to you? What are you being called to do?
If you’ve been meaning to spend more time writing, then today—write something. If you’ve wanted to paint, or sculpt, or dance, or anything creative, get a canvas or some clay, or sign up for a class. Whatever it is, just start.
As Holley Gerth reminds us, “Creativity literally changes us. Scientists used to think after a certain age our brains were set. But being creative actually makes new neurological pathways in our minds. It’s never too late to grow.”
Personally, while I definitely want to spend more time in creative pursuits, one of the things I have made a decision to pursue more whole-heartedly is being an encourager. I believe it is one of my gifts that I have only barely begun to use in my life through my blog and my friendships. My goal is to mail or give out a card or hand-written note each day to at least one person. For how long? I don’t really know. Is that too grand of a goal? Am I setting myself up for failure? Should I start smaller, like with one personal note of encouragement a week? Perhaps. But I have a box full of cards and a room full of card-making supplies. Plus, as much happiness as I hope to be spreading through my acts, I believe it will make me just as happy to connect with others in this way.
So, this morning I started with a pretty new address book and I wrote in all the information I had from my old book.
Next up, I plan to go through my Yahoo and Facebook contacts and my phone and include any other information from there. I know I can merge contacts electronically and keep the information in that format, but there’s just something more personal about a hand-written address book. (And then, of course, there’s white-out for all those changes that are bound to happen.)
Of course, the perfectionist in me would like to get all of the above completed first and set up a specific plan before moving on to the next step—actually beginning to share personal notes of encouragement—but I know that I will not make progress by following that path, and I just might miss out on meeting a moment of need for some of those whom I would like to reach out to. If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t tarry in the “safe zone.” Open the gate and move forward. The time to begin is now.
As the FlyLady is known for advising on her website, “Jump in where you are.” [The FlyLady offers a housecleaning and organizing “system” that is based on establishing habits and routines to clear out clutter, get a handle on your home, make time for fun, and, in many ways, simplify your life.] What I like about her is that she understands how the perfectionism in people like me holds us back. I don’t always like to get started with some things until I feel like I am totally prepared or able to complete the new project perfectly. This sometimes means that nothing gets done. Two of FlyLady’s regular reminders to her readers encourage me:
- Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family. (It doesn’t have to be done perfectly.)
- You are not behind—you are just getting started! (Quite worrying about what you should already have done or trying to catch up. Each day is a new opportunity to start fresh.)
And here are more great words from Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista: “Don’t wait until you’re completely new, in order to spread your wings. Don’t wait until there is no more sorrow, in order to celebrate the moments you do feel happy. All the moments you and I live in secret and out in the open is known. Because you and I are loved. Completely. Unconditionally. Irrevocably. Always. Again and again. Easter is alive in you. And in me.”
So, take time this day to not only rejoice in the Risen Lord and the new life we have in Christ, but also to spring forth with a new fervor to make your life a living testimony of God’s love for us and your love for others. Some might think my plan or my post is trivial, especially in light of the magnitude of this day. But if each of us reached out with our own gifts and talents in an attempt to touch a few lives, think of the difference we could make in those lives. Don’t think that what you have to offer isn’t enough. Even your smallest efforts can be multiplied by the Lord.
“Let our lives together be like the course of the sun:
rising in strength, going forth in power,
and shining more and more unto the perfect day.”
Dr. James Dobson