The Cross & The Tomb

If I’m being honest this semester has been hard. So good, but hard. It’s led me to be amazed by Jesus, but also appalled by own sin. But God remains faithful. He sent just what I needed through a simple text that held two questions that have wrecked my narrow, self-centered mind and brought me back to my knees.

What has the Cross set you free from? And what has the empty tomb set you free to do?

That’s it. Two short, self-explanatory questions. But they hold so much meaning. So much freedom when taken to heart.

These questions were asked for the specific purpose of video to be shown at a Good Friday service on campus, but they have meant so much more to me. I’ve thought about them all week long and I hope I never stop asking myself these questions, because they point straight to the Gospel and to the heart of Jesus.

The answer to these questions is the point of Jesus death and resurrection. He didn’t die to make a big scene or rise again to freak people out. He didn’t go through Hell (literally) and experience the crushing weight of every single human beings sin just so we would throw parties every spring. No, he died and rose again to set you and me free. That’s all. That was His purpose. That was the will of the Father, to set his children free of sin by the death and resurrection of his most beloved Son.

God looked at you in your brokenness and said, “You are worth my most beloved Son.” Jesus accepted the will of His Father because He thinks, “You are worth Him dying the most shameful, excruciating death imaginable.” Your freedom is worth that much. Do you understand? You are worth that much! If you had been the only person on earth, Christ still would have died for you, because you’re worth it. I’m worth it. We are worth it.

And now by the power of His blood we walk in freedom. But let us not be a people that take the Cross and the freedom it gave us for granted. Let us not be complacent with our freedom. Let us not remain in our jail cell, in our sin and shame, when Jesus has unlocked the door and invited us to walk out of the darkness into the Light with Him.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Here are my declarations of Freedom and I encourage you to write your own!

The Cross has set me free from fear. From the fear of failure and the fear of not being enough for anyone or anything. The empty tomb has set me free to share peace with others and let them know just how ENOUGH they are because of Whose they are.

The Cross has set me free from the shame of my sin, my past. And the tomb has set me free to walk confidently in the forgiveness and redemption that is graciously given to me everyday.

The Cross has set me free from the bondage of expectations. I no longer have to strive to live up to my own and others expectations in order to be loved. And the tomb has set me free to give myself and others grace when we fail.

The Cross has set me free from the need to be perfect. Because the Son of Man chose to become flesh and blood in order to die for my imperfections, I can live an imperfect life while being loved by a perfect God. And the tomb has set me free to do just that.

The Cross has set me free from the bondage to lies about who I am and whose I am. The tomb has set me free to walk in complete freedom trusting that I was made for such a time as this, by a God whose plans know no bounds.

The Cross has set me free from a life of timidity and fear of man. And the tomb has set me free to live a BOLD and BRAVE life for Him, sharing the Gospel without fear of man.

Verses to read: Romans 8:16, Isaiah 61:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, John 16:33

To the Girl Who Steps on the Scale…

To the girl who steps on the scale before hitting the gym. Before beating herself up for not being as fit as the girl next to her.

To the girl who steps on the scale before running until her vision goes blurry. Trying to outrun breakfast, lunch, dinner. Outrun anxiety, depression, shame.

To the girl who steps on the scale, hiding her eyes from the result. Hiding from the result because it determines whether she will have a good or bad day.

To the girl who steps on the scale, pleased with the number. Yet unpleased with the image before her.

To the girl who steps on the scale, only to burst into tears. The tears rain down because she’s never enough.

To the girl who steps on the scale, knowing she’s already failed. She’s already failed because she’s fighting an impossible battle.

To the girl who steps on the scale, before leaning over the toilet. She leans over the toilet to empty herself of all of her wrongdoing, her shame, her lack of control.

To the girl who steps on the scale to see if her comfort, her refuge, her pastime is showing on her physique. Is it showing on her hips, her thighs, her stomach? Can the world see?

To the girl who steps on the scale, knowing what she will do afterwards to cover the emotions. She covers them with sweet & salty snacks, with ooey & gooey items. Her shame dipped in chocolate. Her hopelessness and despair the icing on the cake.

To the girl who steps on the scale only to realize she is still falling short of her goal. Her goal of perfection and beauty.

To the girl who steps on the scale to see if the dress, the jeans will fit. Translated: to see if she is a failure or not, in control or not.

To the girl who steps on the scale to give her hope that one day he will give her more than a glance. To see if she is desirable, wanted, noticed.

To the girl who steps on the scale anxiously awaiting her death sentence. Will it be 6 miles, 10 miles, 300 of this or that? What will the punishment be?

To the girl who steps on the scale hoping beyond hope that it will tell her she is loved, chosen, known. Hoping that the screen will tell her she’s more loveable.

To the girl who steps on the scale, praying all the while. Praying that the earth’s gravitational pull on her mass will be less and she will therefore be more. More beautiful. More loved. More worthy.

To the girl who steps on the scale because the voice in her head says she must. She must know the numbers so she can compensate, punish, pay.

To the girl who steps on the scale futilely seeking approval. Approval from her dad, her mom, her boyfriend, her husband. Maybe if she weighed less, they would care more, stick around more, be present and invested in her. Just maybe.

To the girl who steps on the scale waiting to see the numbers. Waiting to know her worth.

To the girl who steps on the scale, I’m crying inside as I watch you. I’m hurting as I see you hurt. The disappointment on your face, the despair in your eyes and the hopelessness in the sagging of your shoulders. It all screams of your brokenness and I know your broken place all too well.

As I listen to the talk of weight gain and loss, I want to shake them, to make them see. See that the scale has no power, beyond what we give it. The scale is not a measure of anything except the gravity between you and earth. It cannot tell how funny or friendly you are. It cannot share how passionate, gifted or determined you are. Those numbers you see they are lies. They are lies from the father of lies himself. They are planted to lead you astray. They are there to make you believe you are not enough for anyone or anything. To make you believe you are too much for everyone and everything. But those lies hold no power in the Light of His Truth. So hold them up. Let His Light shine in the dark corner where you keep those lies. For His Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not, cannot, will not overcome His marvelous Light (John 1:5).

To you, you who place your worth in numbers, listen to me. You are valuable. You are more valuable than gold and jewels. You are more valuable than the comfort of the Son of both God and Man. You are more valuable than the life of the King of Kings. You were bought at a terribly, wonderfully, grace-filled cost. And you were bought, ransomed, paid for in full because you are wanted, loved, needed and desired.

To the girl who steps on the scale, please, dear girl, just step off.