My Easter story starts on Wednesday. I arrived early to the pre-Easter prayer and worship my church service to pray with the staff. During the conversation about the flow of the evening—I had a feeling that the night was going to go a little bit differently than everyone had planned.
Turns out, that this was absolutely the case. Instead of moving through worship directly into the portion of the night that was planned (prayer for evangelism, writing notes of encouragement for the people that would be baptized, etc.) we spent an extended time in worship and I ended up stepping forward for prayer during a spontaneous time of ministry. Now, let me be clear, I don’t normally do this. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually stepped forward for prayer. Because of my role, I am always the one praying for people.
Everyone who prayed over said that they felt the Lord telling them that this Easter would be different for me. A pastor even handed me a note that someone had written and placed in a prayer bucket around the room saying that they felt like “Lauren Francis—would have a different kind of Easter.”
It was kind of surreal. I am not used to so many people speaking words over me, but I took it. I prayed towards it. What would this Easter look like? How would it be different?
Good Friday happened. I did worship at all four of the Central services, which made for a very long day. The message was powerful and the worship was great and the time spent with people during the day was much needed. However, it didn’t feel much different. It felt like a normal ROCKHARBOR commitment. I wondered what, if anything, Sunday held for me. I wondered if the people who prayed over me had not been spot on this time with the words they spoke over me (which happens and is OK and normal…)
Sunday came. When I walked up to the Amphitheater I realized something. This was the first year that I was not involved with a bunch of different things on Easter morning. Memories of serving in children’s, passing out donuts and waters with high school ministry and singing in the choir all in the same morning the previous Easter came to mind. In fact, I remember how last Easter, I didn’t sit through the service at all. I was rushing from one place to another. I don’t know why I had not thought of this before. This Easter was going to be different simply because I only had one thing on my plate.
As I watched 6,400 people filter into the Amphitheater from the stage where I stood alongside 20 of my worship community friends, I felt a peace and excitement like never before. Moments before the first note was played—I realized why this Easter would be so different.
On this morning, my “duty” was simply to worship. That’s all. Worship my Savior who rose on this day a couple thousand years ago to declare victory over all the things that try and enslave me. Can you even call that a duty? No way.
Easter wasn’t split up into a million different jobs. It wasn’t hectic or stressful or something I felt to be an obligation. It was a Sunday where I got to sing my guts out and praise the Lord with 12,000 people. There was no rushing or planning or strategizing how to do everything I needed to do. I got to stand on stage with 20 other people and worship. Period. I can’t even describe in words how much I needed this Easter. Not only did I get to see hundreds of people get baptized (including some awesome friends of mine!) or dozens of people accept Christ or people dancing and celebrating—but the Lord taught me a valuable lesson.
The enemy uses overcommitment as a tool to enslave me. I am the person that always says “yes.” I am the girl who claims that “I love doing a million things” or am the “best multi-tasker ever!” But the enemy has wiggled his way into my commitments and turned them into something that I put on a checklist. Much of the ministry I find myself involved in has become an obligation. It’s sad, because at one point, I truly did love a lot of the things I was involved in. However, I didn’t love or invest in any of them nearly enough because I was spread far too thin. This Easter was a morning that came with incredible celebration, but also a moment of clarity.
My job on earth is to simply worship. God doesn’t love me more because I serve in three ministries on Easter. He doesn’t love me better when I am praying for people than when I step forward to get prayer. He loves me regardless of any of these things. He wants me to be healthy. To serve out of the overflow of what he is doing in areas that he leads me to on his own will. His purpose is NOT to run me ragged in the name of His ministry. This was/is/and will continue to be a challenging lesson for me to learn—but it’s one that I am incredibly grateful to be learning now.
I see now how this Easter was different. And I could not be more thankful.