Expect good things
Easter Time is a season that means different things to different people, we all come from a variety of traditions and backgrounds. I have always celebrated Easter in my family and over time it has become more important to me as I have discovered my own personal faith. What I have been mulling over with the Easter story this year, is how Jesus was nothing like people’s expectations and that was a problem for many people. The Jewish people who had been under oppressive Roman rule for years were expecting a powerful military guy who would get rid of the Romans for them. Jesus would have been a disappointment to many people, on the outside he appeared a bit normal and powerless.
However, the opposite was true, Jesus ended up saying and doing things that were not normal and very unexpected. It threatened and offended too many people and he was killed. Throughout his time on earth Jesus told many people including the ones closest to him, his disciples, that this wouldn’t be the end of things, it was more like the beginning.
For those of us who know the story, Jesus was crucified on a cross, a Roman method of capital punishment. When some of the women he was close with went to check on the body in accordance with the customs at the time, they found that the body had disappeared. Despite there being visible evidence that he had come back to life,which included him appearing to various people, it was believed by some and doubted by others. Even the disciples were so caught up in their pain and disappointment that at first it didn’t occur to them that it all might be true.
As a child I was very confused by the name “Good Friday”, the day that Jesus died on the cross seemed to be a very dark day to me. But the name nods to what was to come….expect good things. As I grew in my personal faith over the years, I too started to understand that it all really is true. Regardless of whether you believe the Easter story, we can face real challenges and get so caught up in them, that when someone or something good comes along it can be hard to even notice.
I have recently been through a season of personal transition, which involved moving away from a community of friends I had been with for years. Although I had doubts about moving away and my next path in life, I was determined that my perspective for 2023 was to expect good things. There have of course been challenges, but I have found it so much easier to pay attention to the good things that happen on a daily basis with this fresh mentality. Some daily occurrences are so small that they would usually be missed, but I found that the more I opened my heart to expectation, the more grateful and present I have become.
There is something about the few years that has given us many reasons to expect bad things, or if anything good does appear we can dismiss it with cynicism. Fair enough. We can even use things to escape our current reality, because it’s either too painful or too exhausting. Unfortunately our inner life, our screen time, the dialogue we choose in our conversations can impact our lives even further. If there is anything we can do something about, it’s this stuff, how we choose to respond. We need to reach for hope and reach to each other.
Easter is essentially an invite to the whole world – for us to know we are loved more than ever before and to know we are invited to another way of living. There are things in my life that died with Jesus on the cross, but I had to choose to surrender those things myself and believe that they did in fact die. I also have to believe that there is life after death, which means I need to expect good things.
With new life comes expectancy. You may not be able to rely on your circumstances right now but hope still exists and it can be cultivated. For Easter this year, why not start a new tradition?
TAKE THE DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT CHALLENGE
Sometimes we can find ourselves caught up in things which aren’t really beneficial for us and we don’t even realise! Maybe it’s a relationship that’s unhealthy for us or maybe it’s our constant use of our devices. Did you know that according to statistics 72% of Aussies are sleeping next to their phone and 79% check it within 10 minutes of waking up. Choosing to connect with the world around us, over our device can help remind us that our reality is full of the colour, buzz and the connection that we crave! If you haven’t already – turn off the notifications on your device or give the grayscale settings a go. Want the next level up – try sleeping without your device right next to you! So – give it a go! We encourage you to disconnect and pick one below to reconnect to in return.
Reconnect with Silence
How often do you switch off everything…and I mean everything? Complete silence can feel very uncomfortable to practice, but it’s so good for our souls! It brings us focus, peace and helps us to slow down and pay attention to our inner life. Challenge yourself and try cooking, driving or going for a walk without anything on in the background. You could even start practicing silence as an intentional habit and journal your thoughts. Start with 1 or 2 minutes and see how it goes.
Reconnect with Gratitude
We have so much to be thankful for, even in our most challenging seasons but sometimes we can forget to call to mind what those specific things are. Think about naming one thing you’re grateful for from your day. It could be the first thing you do when you wake up, or recapping your day before you go to sleep. You can even practice around the dinner table with your family, by naming what you are grateful for about your day. After a while you might find that it becomes a positive habit in your life.
Reconnect with Good Questions
Sometimes we can rush through life without properly seeing each other. Think back to a time when you felt really understood and known by a friend or family member. It could be that someone you know could do with that same connection. Think of a good question to ask them, you could try linking it to something they have told you before and have a genuine conversation about how they are doing. Intentionality and detail in our conversations helps people know they are cared for and gives them space to open up. A five minute, present, conversation could make a big difference to someone’s day.
Reconnect with Health
Moving your body is not just about getting fit! We actually carry stress physically in our bodies, as well as our minds. Exercise is an amazing gift we have been given to connect with who we are, a natural reliever of stress and a great way to transition the day. In this season, is there a way you can move your body to help transition your day? It doesn’t need to be intense, a walk in the park after work is often the best way.
Reconnect with Community
We have an amazing community in Townsville and have overcome a lot together. Our local business owners are absolute troopers and need our support! If you are on a walk, set yourself a challenge to chat with at least one of them and better yet, buy a coffee or make an appointment, whatever service is being offered! If you see a business under new management give them a wave, they are a huge part of our community and we need these guys around.
Reconnect with Faith
Faith is having full trust and confidence in something or someone. Sometimes we can over rely or ‘have faith’ in something and even put it before our relationship with God. Maybe it’s time to reconnect with the one who created all the things that we sometimes try to hold onto so tightly. For some, the thought of there being a God who you can talk to may be weird or maybe it’s been a while since you have spent some quality time with God as you would your spouse or best friend. Why not give it a try, and connect or reconnect with God this Easter.