BREAKING FREE What Easter Means to Me
F ear is a natural part of life. We're all afraid of something, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. But when I was younger, I really struggled with fear. It was always there, and most of my fears didn’t make sense. For instance, I was afraid of the dark, afraid of being home alone, and afraid of loud sounds. I used to cover my ears when flushing the toilet because the sound scared me so much. For years, I never thought to explore why I felt this way. I just accepted my fears as part of my personality and began accommodating them in my life. Unfortunately, this escalated into fears of imperfection and, worse, of not being “good” enough. It turns out there is a word for this type of fear: atelophobia. People with atelophobia can develop anxiety and depression as well as other conditions related to their desire for perfectionism. My personal solution to fix all my perceived issues was to read self-help books (too many to count) on topics ranging from goal setting to maintaining relationships. What started as a set of petty fears as a child morphed into a tyrannical obsession with being perfect through personal effort. While it’s prudent to look for ways we can improve and better ourselves, I took it too far, and that took a toll on me. Living life through the lens of how I thought other people perceived me was emotionally draining. On top of that, I became so used to filtering my authentic feelings and words that I lost the sense of who I was and what made me special. After years of this, it became clear I couldn’t meet the extreme standards I'd set for myself, so I took a step back. What resulted was a paradigm shift that transformed the way I viewed myself. This shift stemmed from my faith.
Growing up, I experienced religion and church as a set of rules requiring me to do certain things to get close to God. However, in my pursuit of doing
“good” in order to earn God’s love, I missed an important truth: I am loved not based on who I am or what I do but based on who He is and what He’s done for humanity. Putting my Creator (instead of my own efforts) as the gateway to my
self-worth has encouraged me to seek a real and personal relationship with Him. It has also replaced my feelings of
inadequacy with a sense of power and peace with who I am. Of course, there are plenty of things I fear today (dealing with fears is a lifelong journey), but the difficulties I experience now feel more manageable than they used to. In light of my recent life changes, I have been thinking differently about what Easter, in particular, means to me. Easter falls on April 12 this year, and Myles and I will enjoy taking our two toddlers on Easter egg hunts. (The Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are dangerous for the whole family!) In addition to the fun we will have, we will also take time to honor Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, which miraculously confirmed his identity as the Son of God. For me, Easter is a time to remember that every mistake has already been forgiven. Life is full of struggles, but we don’t have to solve them all by ourselves: no matter what we are facing, we are always within the parameters of God’s love.
We wish you all a happy Easter! May this season bring you love and joy.
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