Find Your Freedom This Easter!
I’m sitting at my desk, looking out the window at another gray Wisconsin afternoon—another in a long line of overcast, chilling, emotionally uninspiring March days.
On days like this I wonder, “Will the sun ever shine again?” Even though intellectually I know the weather report says the temperatures will rise soon, I’m struggling to feel that hope—and warmth—emotionally.
I think that’s what we all experience when we are going through troubling times. Even though we know, intellectually, that the bad times can’t last forever, we wonder if just maybe they will.
This is where hope enters the equation.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: With hope we can survive anything and move forward. Without it, we wither and begin to focus on the negative.
Focusing on the negative is all too easy to do when we are going through tough times. It’s easy to make a “gratitude list” when the day is sunny and we are driving with the top rolled down, so to speak. But it isn’t so easy to feel grateful when we are stranded on the side of life’s road in a rainstorm with a punctured tire and a broken windshield.
Maybe you’re struggling with a situation in your life right now that has you feeling anxious or angry or without hope. And maybe you’re even beginning to get a little down on yourself—the bullies of the human mind love kick us when we are down, and the spiritual demons love to pick us apart when we are feeling vulnerable.
Some people say that the devil’s greatest trick is convincing the world that he doesn’t exist, but I say it’s different. I say that his greatest trick is convincing people that they are worthless, un-loveable, unredeemable, hopeless.
And that is where Good Friday and Easter come into play. No matter how low you are—no matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past (or recently), no matter how difficult your station in life is—you can feel good about where you stand with God and the future, including the future that never ends, eternity.
Because Jesus took the filth of the world upon himself—the mistakes, perversion, selfishness, pain, greed, anger and everything else—we no longer have to beat ourselves up and feel worthless or hopeless.
Self-loathing is now a fool’s game, and cynicism no longer has a place in the mental and emotional lexicon. Gloom and doom, be gone.
Maybe you’ve heard Christians say about Good Friday and Easter: “This Changes Everything.
Well, I truly believe it does. Despite the reality of physical death, it’s now okay to feel good about where this whole thing called life is headed. And despite our personal faults and screwups, it’s now okay to feel good about ourselves and where we stand with God.
You are enough, simply because He created you and redeemed you. And so am I.
For my money, Good Friday is the most meaningful of holidays. As someone who’s struggled with excessive feelings of guilt from time to time (maybe because of some anxious genes extending through my lineage, or maybe because of condemning thought patterns I absorbed from stern Lutheran teachers and pastors as a youth), I’ve always found great release and rebirth on Good Friday. I’ve always found great freedom on that most epic and meaningful of days.
Because of Christ’s death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection, there is eternal life and hope beyond the insanity and suffering of this world. Because of Good Friday and Easter, the shackles of guilt are finally broken, and we can feel emancipated and light.
Because of Good Friday and Easter, the devil’s argument that we are worthless and doomed loses all of its steam.
In the course of my wellness coaching, I’ve worked with many people from varying nationalities and all walks of life—people who are dealing with medication-related illnesses, depression, anxiety, personal demons, and fear—and I can tell you with certainty that a part of healing always involves thinking better about ourselves; it involves overcoming any feelings of worthlessness that sickness and guilt can heap upon us.
From a humanistic standpoint, this mental and emotional healing involves many things related to self-image and feelings of personal worth; things such as encouraging positive self-talk, learning to absorb contentment through gratitude and goal setting, learning to replace negative personal stories with positive ones, and so forth.
But in a spiritual sense, this inner healing involves accepting the feelings of love and worth that God openly offers us rather than resisting them (Why do we make it so hard on ourselves?). This healing involves learning to love ourselves more because God loves us—no preamble or exclusions.
I think emotional wellness can be found where the human and Divine intersect, where our efforts and God’s grace meet. A part of forgiveness is asking for it, but the other half of the equation is accepting its Divine reality through faith. A part of feeling valuable and special is personal accomplishment and self work, but the other part comes from a spiritual life that accepts redemption and Divine love.
We must do our part to improve our situations and then realize that even our best efforts have limitations that can only be transcended by God. We must do our part and then hand the big picture over to Him, every day.
All healing involves spiritual and inner healing, and inner healing involves finding remedy for feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and fear. It involves accepting absolute absolution for our past screw ups—no matter how vile or large—simply because God says we can be forgiven. It involves working to increase faith so that we can become less preoccupied with materialism, instant gratification, perfectionism, sickness, calamity, and death.
On Good Friday, because Jesus said to the thief dying beside Him on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise,” we can know that paradise is ours no matter how short we’ve fallen at times.
On good Friday, because Jesus said, “It is finished,” we know that the devil (who lives in the ether, but who also live on our shoulders and in our heads when we are feeling vulnerable), has no power. His darkness and death are defeated.
This Good Friday I urge you to feel the power of Christ’s crucifixion and all that it means for you personally. Read the accounts of the crucifixion from the Gospels, and feel the epic torture of nails piercing flesh and an innocent savior hanging on a cross to mockery. Picture the sky turning dark, earthquakes shaking the ground, and the temple curtain ripping in two as Christ’s earthly breath fades and He descends to the depths to conquer evil for us.
Picture demons trembling as they realize that light has defeated the darkness that was their refuge.
Picture a personal cleansing taking place for you as the hurts and fears of the past give way to the hopes of the future.
Get emotionally affected this Good Friday and Easter. You know intellectually that you ought to feel this weekend is special, but now is the time to feel it emotionally! Feel the power of what it means for you personally!
If there’s some past mistakes you haven’t been able to forgive yourself for, now you can.
If there’s some inner struggle involving feelings of low self-worth or damnation, remember that God sent His son to die for you and redeem you because you are actually worth a lot. That sort of Divine planning and sacrifice isn’t done because you are worthless, but rather because you are so very valuable.
If there are some fears about death or future uncertainties that are weighing down your spirit, then let those go, too. And if there are some wonders and worries about how you might survive a current challenge, then think about the celestial power displayed by Easter Sunday’s resurrection.
If death and the devil are not obstacles for God, then He can handle your troubles and worries as well, be assured. Hand them over this weekend. Find your freedom!
Have a very blessed holiday weekend.
Until next time,
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying." John 11:25
Michael Priebe is a writer and personal development coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors. and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to write about health, sports, professional life, politics, relationships, and spiritual issues. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to find out more about his life coaching here, and he hopes you'll reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.
“Michael helped me in a way that no doctor or therapist has been able to! His personal experience combined with his optimistic, constructive input and guidance is priceless. I highly recommend his coaching sessions.”
“I contacted Michael for coaching because he has the ultimate credential of having been through it all himself! I liked his warm, empathetic manner. He is easy to talk to, and I felt as if he were a family member in his warm caring toward me. Michael has a very reassuring way of communicating, and I would highly recommend him.”
Jon - British Columbia, Canada
“I came across Michael’s videos by chance while looking up information on prescription drug withdrawal. I found his YouTube videos to be very informative, honest, and consoling. I was watching one after the other and even converted the sound on the videos to MP3 so that I could listen to his advice while going for walks. That was very soothing for me, and therefore I decided to try his coaching services. Great decision.
"Michael is a great and patient listener, and during our time together I felt that he sincerely cared about my healing progress and had genuine empathy for all those going through withdrawal. He is a positive-minded individual who disseminates hope, and I appreciated the useful, personalized follow-up notes he sent after our session. Most certainly I would recommend his coaching.”
Yasmin - Cairo, Egypt
“No one else is doing what Michael is doing. It truly is a ministry! Michael is willing to make himself vulnerable to help others during their journey in the valley. He is very easy to talk to (I felt like I had known him forever), and I would most definitely recommend his coaching to others.”
Andi, North Carolina
“Michael’s coaching is truly a game-changing experience. I appreciate the level of understanding he brings … tons of knowledge on how to survive the days and get closer to recovery. When you finally get to look someone in the face and know they understand exactly what you’re going through, it can bring a different level of comfort; that is what Michael’s coaching provided me, and without a doubt I would recommend it to everyone going through this.”
“I decided to use Michael’s coaching services because he seemed very genuine and trustworthy. After speaking with him a couple of times, I realized that I am strong enough to overcome certain obstacles, but also realized that I need not rush the process [of becoming medication free]. It was comforting talking to Michael about my withdrawal issues so that I could realize that what I’m going through is common, and it was also useful that Michael took the time to give me feedback in specific areas—like making a schedule and forming realistic expectations for myself. Michael gave me more useful feedback than a lot of mental health counselors I’ve had. Michael has helped me, and I hope he continues to help others. I would definitely recommend his coaching services.”
“I learned a lot from Michael. At first I was so confused by withdrawal (wondering what I was going through and if I would be this way permanently), but Michael helped me to realize that we do heal and that things do get better. I had a lot of worries, but he helped to ease my mind and he gave me positive feedback regarding how to approach each day in this process. Michael has a caring heart, and I would 100 percent recommend his coaching to others going through this.”
Erikka, South Dakota
“It can be frustrating having to deal with [withdrawal] symptoms for months on end and getting next to no support from doctors or anyone in the medical community (people who for the most part are clueless). Simply getting a chance to speak with Michael—someone who has gone through what I have and is able to offer support—was comforting. I also really enjoyed his follow-up notes. They were insightful and helped me to consider things I hadn’t thought of. I very much enjoyed working with Michael, and I would recommend his coaching to anyone who is going through this process and looking for support.”
“Michael is relatable and non-judgemental. I liked his positivity and follow-up notes. He provided good support overall. I believe that if a person really wants to withdrawal from medication, then support like this, from someone who has personal experience, is invaluable, and for that reason I would recommend Michael’s coaching to others going through this process.”
Leanne – Ontario, Canada
"Because of Michael’s own experiences, he knows what serves and what damages. He helped me to control my intake of negative information, he made me more optimistic, and he gave me a sense of the “whole [healing] picture.” Michael is a good listener and his comments are very precise. I would definitely recommend his coaching to others going through withdrawal."
Miguel, Atlanta, GA
"I really enjoyed my coaching sessions with Michael and looked forward to each call. He is very easy to talk to and offers very good advice. Our conversations gave me hope and coping skills, and his follow-up notes and progress plan were very helpful; I reference them often to stay on track. I found it comforting talking to someone who has been through this and really understands the struggle. I now look at withdrawal as something that can be overcome, something that I can heal from. I felt very comfortable talking to Michael, and I would recommend his coaching services to others going through the withdrawal and healing process."
“I decided to try Michael’s coaching because, in his videos, he seemed so honest, relatable, upbeat, hopeful, and knowledgeable. I believe I got more out of Michael’s videos and coaching than I got from years of professional counseling. It is very comforting talking to him because it is like talking to a very knowledgeable, long-time, close friend. I have more hope for the future after talking to Michael, and that helps me to survive the times when I am feeling blue. I would recommend his coaching to those going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
“I really enjoyed the care that Michael put into every contact with me. I appreciate how he shared his own experiences, found out about my overall context, and made direct suggestions; it was so important to believe that I was not losing control of my mind and body and that I could carry on with living while going through the process. It was also helpful to set goals and a plan and check back in on these things. Michael’s coaching is very professional and authentic, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
Emma, United Kingdom
“I always refer back to what Michael coached me on in the past regarding dealing with such times during the recovery and healing process. I enjoy working with Michael because he takes his time answering each of my questions in detail. Michael has true answers and guidance. It is comforting being coached by someone who understands my symptoms, and also Michael is a very compassionate person. I would definitely recommend his services to a person in need of help during the withdrawal process.”
THE LOVELY GRIND: SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION FOR WORKDAYS offers 90 devotional messages that will help you find rest, renewal, and perspective for your workweek and beyond.
WHAT IS YOUR STRUGGLE RIGHT NOW? Difficult coworkers? A lack of professional fulfillment? Financial concerns? Balancing work with the rest of your life?
By discussing a variety of professional stressors and life challenges and then offering spiritual and thought-provoking perspective on each, THE LOVELY GRIND gives readers a truly unique devotional experience.
Get a copy for yourself and don't forget to order one for a friend or family member who has been feeling fatigued or stressed out lately. Come join THE LOVELY GRIND & start living lovely!
CONTACT ME ABOUT COACHING
If you or someone you know is struggling to survive the pain and confusion of prescription drug withdrawal or chronic stress, I would like to offer my coaching services. Stress can suck the joy out of life, and the withdrawal process can be challenging (I know from experience). However, with the proper tools and mindset, these things can be survived and even used for greater growth. If you or someone you care about is trying to quit antidepressant or benzodiazepine medications (or simply trying to reduce stress levels), please click here to email me about coaching options and availability.