Today has been one of contemplation.  It started in Sunday School, talking with a friend about my writing.  She asked me if I was worried about becoming prideful when/if receiving accolades and achieving success (something I hope to do-that is, achieve success!).  I explained that I didn’t worry about that.  I work on doing everything prayerfully and that keeps me focused.  But as the conversation went on, I realized that there are things I am fearful of in the new chapter of my life.

I am afraid of what people will say.  What if I say the wrong thing?  Or someone takes it wrong?  Or they take it right and hate me because of it?  What if Clay’s career suffers from something I say?  And the list goes on.  For someone who is used to keeping everything private, I have become very adverse to being open.  Don’t get me wrong.  If you ask, I will tell you.  I am transparent.  But I’m not always forthcoming.  I don’t just put it out there.  You do have to ask.  And to change that personality trait is difficult.  I am always worried that I will mess up in the process.  I have spent so much time protecting me, my family, and others from bad things in life that I have forgotten to just live.

And that is probably my biggest fear, and always has been.  Fear of failure.  Also known as Fear of Making the Wrong Choice.  I am so worried that I will fail at writing, that this venture will not turn out the way I want because I’m not good enough.  I focus so much on the possible outcomes that I don’t focus on just doing the job.  I’m all about contingency plans.  And for those that have known me well, you all know I have contingency plans for the contingency plans!  But when the fear of failing or making a mistake causes you to stop doing and trying things, you are being consumed with fear.  It is controlling your life.  And as a Christian, I have been freed from fear.  Jesus loves me even if I make a mistake.  He already knows the mistakes I will make.  He looks beyond that and into my heart.  In fact, He gave His life so that I wouldn’t have to live in fear.  So my fear is actually a slap in the face.

In church today, the pastor talked about Passover and how Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice.  It gave much to think about.  What really brought it home for me was the discussion of what Jews did in preparation of the Passover.  On what we call Palm Sunday, they brought the lamb into the house.  They spent four days observing the lamb, making sure it had no blemish.  They also spent this time loving on the lamb and getting to know it.  So when it was sacrificed, the family felt a loss.  Then on Friday, they took the lamb to the Temple to be sacrificed.  The priests slaughtered the lambs from 9am til 3pm and stopped in order to prepare the sacrificed lambs for the Passover dinner at 6pm. 

Jesus, being the ultimate perfect sacrifice, did the same.  He entered into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, amongst high praise and excitement.  At the same time, little lambs were being brought into the Jews’ houses.  Throughout the week, Jesus was watched and tried by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and others.  They all got to thoroughly know Him.  All, including Pilot, found Him to be innocent and unblemished.  Just like the lambs.  Then, at 9am on Friday, Jesus was crucified: the same time the lambs were being slaughtered.  At 3pm, all the lambs had been killed and darkness covered the land as Jesus cried out to God “Why have You forsaken me?”  Jesus died at 6pm, the same time that Jews were eating their sacrificed lambs.  Those lambs were reminding the Jews of the sacrifice their ancestors had to make in ordered to be delivered out of Egypt and delivered from death (the 10th plague).  All the while, Jesus had died to deliver them from hell and they did not even realize it.

By accepting Jesus, each and every one of us is asking Him to go to the cross instead of us.  We are accepting His offer to be our replacement.  And He willing does so.  He was willing to die a heinous death so that we could be delivered from hell.  If Jesus can do that, how can I be fearful?  How can I not follow the plan He has for me?  How can I not be full of excitement during the Easter season, remembering how much love He has for me?  How can I not feel sympathy for the plight of those persecuted in His name?  How can I not willingly give my life over to Him?