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Goals without End!

Today is Good Friday - the Lord's passion. The Lord our God who suffered under Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. Last week we experienced the sixth Sunday of our Lenten journey. It was also called Passion Sunday or commonly referred to as Palm Sunday. The gospel readings were similar on Palm Sunday as today's readings on Good Friday. The readings take us through our Lord’s passion. The betrayal, the humiliation, the arrest, the handing over of Jesus to Pilate, then Jesus’ crucifixion, His pain and His suffering. During lent we have been called to understand and share in His suffering for the sake of our sins. We reflect on our own suffering, the traumas, illnesses, grief and losses we experience and for a few moments they don’t seem as hard to carry, knowing what Jesus went through. Thus we have begun on our own healing journey. We know we can heal because we have been blessed to have Jesus Christ in our lives and our souls.

Do you remember New Year’s Day? It wasn’t too long ago. Many of you made New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps those resolutions were about making changes in your life. To improve your living, perhaps a healthier lifestyle – be it a work/life balance, healthier diets or exercising more. Perhaps you decided on a goal to broaden your education, or change careers, or have more interests, maybe take up a new hobby. Perhaps you wanted to strengthen your relationship with friends, family, God? Whatever your resolutions are you decided on a plan and you are trying to follow it.

Following New Year’s day we moved along in our daily routines until we were faced with Lent. A time when we examine our life, past, present, and future. A time when we focus not so much on our physical/external self but on our emotional and internal self. We make different resolutions or goals. We attempt to measure those goals based on the sacrifice that God made for us and our sins. We focus on giving up something for those goals. When you give up things like chocolate, sweets, meat or time, is it really enough? Is it what God wants for us? I propose that you give up yourself for Lent and beyond. Now what do I mean by that?

In our society today we are ‘world-view’ focused. It is a time when identity has become our every waking moment. This is especially true for the youth. Youth are either searching for it, finding and losing it, and replacing it, but never really understanding it. Part of the reason surrounding a confusion over one’s identity is due to perspective. For everyone, including youth, identity can be how you see yourself, how you measure yourself to others, your self-worth, your actions, your wealth or status, your education, your culture, your career choices, by who you associate with, your family and/or friends.

Our perspective is taken from only one angle. We are looking from side by side and all around us but never up. We judge our identity by how the world dictates to us, rarely do we decide on our own. Our identity does not have to be a state of confusion. Our identity is quite simple. We belong to God. We are children of God. We should only have one goal in mind this lent. That goal should not end in a week as we approach Easter day but continue on for the rest of our lives.

That goal should be to stop struggling. Give up our resistance and let God take control. Giving up on yourself so that you can let God into your life. The only way to find the light is by letting God in. As you allow God to take control it also means trusting God to guide you. It doesn’t mean you won’t have struggles and challenges in your life, I am living proof, but it means you have the courage and strength knowing you can release all of that worry and stress into God’s hands. When we focus on all of our life’s challenges we have so much to worry about leading us down a path of perpetual daily stress. We cannot heal in our lives living in this way. It will drive us further into a dark abyss of confusion, anxiety, stress, and sickness. How can we heal and live a happy, healthy balanced life, even with our challenges of illness and daily struggles?

Sill need to be convinced to give up yourself and let God lead you? Remember Jesus gave up His life for us. Crucified and died on the cross for us to conquer sin and death. This is God’s unconditional love for us. Fill your days with what is important to you. Even a thought, a prayer, time to reflect on your wonderful creativity or beautiful thoughts. You are not meant to live a life of hopelessness or misery every day. God doesn’t want that for you. Let God take the burdens, the worries, the stress and let the Holy Spirit be active within you, knowing you are a child of God and He loves you unconditionally.

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