As we gear up for Easter weekend, this week’s leader tip is a reminder that one of the greatest assets we can learn to step into — and in turn lead with — is a personal understanding that our God loves us extravagantly and cares for us deeply.
When we look at the message of the cross, we can remember that we are invited to come to Jesus not because of our performance, perfection, image or excellence, but because of God’s love for us. We have a God who loves us as we are, not as we should be.
Rightsizing God and, just as importantly, God’s love, often involves a process of us becoming open to our limits and brokenness, and seeing God’s unconditional love meet us in our honest humility. When Jesus was alive he said he came for the sick, not the healthy who thought they were doing just fine. In other words, spiritual maturity isn’t about becoming super human, but rather, seeing how human we are, and discovering more and more about God’s unconditional love for us.
When we downsize God’s love — or overestimate our role, power, limits, control — we often put way too much responsibility or pressure on ourselves. The Bible tells us over and over again that God understands our human struggles. This is our reality to humbly step into and embrace, and this is the message of Easter — we have a God who willingly demonstrates his love and commitment to us by acknowledging our limits and brokenness, and declaring his intention to stand in the gap. Easter is the perfect illustration of a God who meets us right where we are with extravagant love and deep care.
And while we might believe this in our mind, I get this can be hard to embrace with our hearts. It’s counter culture to embrace our limits and brokenness and to anticipate, not just acceptance but real love. This isn’t a very American concept. We live in a culture that teaches us to earn our place, prove our worth, excel in performance at all cost, look attractive, be a certain image, make a name for ourselves. But Easter tells us to stop striving and to receive God’s gracious gift of unconditional love.
This isn’t to say working hard or pushing our limits for the sake of love and growth is without merit. Rather, Jesus invites us to fill our tank on his love first because love will inevitably bring the best out of us. Science and the Bible both confirm that we were made for love. We grow best when we know we are loved, we perform better in the long run when we know we are loved, and understanding that we are loved even helps us to love others better.
So this Easter weekend, let’s remember that we were made to be regularly calibrated and replenished in the reality that we have a God who loves us extravagantly and cares for us deeply. We win as individuals, and as leaders, when we focus on and put our trust in that love.