I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of passion recently. Passion is an intense desire, something that almost cannot be controlled. It’s something that drives you, moves you, and causes you to fight for it daily. Events in my life have made me evaluate what I am truly passionate about; it has caused to me look at the why behind who I am. As a Christ follower, I am called to something greater. Passion and calling go hand in hand. Each of us have a calling, each of us have been created with a powerful purpose. There is no one like you, you are an original, a masterpiece created in the image of a savior. Take a moment and think about what drives you. What makes you excited during the day, what do you cling to in the midst of hardship, what could you never go another day without pursuing? I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of passion recently.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Anger is my go-to reaction. I struggled with self-control for most of my childhood. It felt like there was always this deep ball of rage inside of me that was ready to explode at the drop of a hat. I relate very much to that of the Marvel hero, The Incredible Hulk, mild mannered Bruce Banner, but as soon as something makes him angry, he turns into a green rage monster. Yeah, that was basically how I felt (and sometimes still feel). Big or little, it didn’t matter what it was, I got angry at people. Now, I wasn’t getting into fist fights with people, mainly just not-so-great words yelled. I would hold these grudges against people, I never wanted to let go, I never wanted to forgive. Maybe it was spite, the thought that they would see my grudge and stop what they had done horribly wrong. I directed this rage at my family which would hurt our relationships, I directed the anger at my bullies in hopes that I could one day get back at them, and I directed bitterness towards anyone else who wanted to get close. What I learned in my un-forgiveness was that I had chained myself and created a prison for myself.
Life is weird. I continually face this. The idea of the unknown is such a scary thing to me. Part of me thought these feelings of fear would go away once I finished college. Like, ah yes, there is the exact path I was meant to take! Unfortunately, life really doesn’t work like that. It’s simply a series of events that shape us, mold us into who we are. That scares me. I like to have a plan, a clear direction about what to do and where to go, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s funny to see older posts where I’ve written about the same idea. Each one was at a different crossroad of my life, and it seemed as if that one decision would be the only choice that would define me. I think that’s the reason why many of us fear big decisions, we worry that this one choice will shape our lives forever. The truth is, these choices aren’t a make or break, they’re small steps of trust in our creator.
“The message I give you waits for the time I have appointed. It speaks about what is going to happen. And all of it will come true. It might take a while. But wait for it. You can be sure it will come. It will happen when I want it to.”
I dream a lot. My mind often wanders about things I want to achieve in life, things that I feel a burning in my soul to accomplish. As a kid, I loved going outside to play. I would create vast worlds in my mind a live out a series of stories and adventures. Sometimes it was being a superhero or Jedi having to face great odds, a villain bent on destroying all of existence. Other times I would be a knight or samurai, a part of an army keeping the land safe. I dreamed awake, creating ideas and solving issue of the world. As I grew up, I continued to dream, talking about the future and the things that I was going to accomplish and save the world from. One of the best compliments I’ve ever received, was from a girl named Ellen in high school. She told me she wanted to join my group project in science because I was always dreaming and creating things. As I’ve grown in my walk with Christ, my dreams have shifted. I used to want to be a screenwriter making movies with beautiful stories, I wanted to create stories that spoke to the core of others and impacted them, but the Holy Spirit had more in store. The Holy Spirit shifted my mind, it was hard and my flesh didn’t know how to handle it, but my eyes were opened. God made me this way, not to be a screen writer, but a pastor. A mentor, someone who empowers others; a dreamer for a kingdom minded world. God made me a dreamer, and the truth is, he wants us all to dream bigger.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Being dehydrated is one of the worst feelings. We need water to live (hopefully you know that, and if not, you’re welcome!), without it we suffer. The reason I thought about this is often in our walk with Christ we become dehydrated, we forget to fuel ourselves with the one thing we need in order to survive. My sister Beth was over at a family dinner and she made the comment about hydration saying, did you know that being thirsty is the last sign that you’re dehydrated? Not the first sign, the last sign. That made me think, the moment I start to need water, when I start growing thirsty, I haven’t even noticed my body suffering before that point. The same happens in our relationship with Christ. I want to let that sink in. We go through our lives seemingly getting by, without even realizing we are starving. We are in need of being hydrated in Christ and don’t even realize it.
I’ve really loved doing this series the past few weeks. I felt like God wanted me to speak to the misfits like me, people who feel like they don’t fit in, but have been made with purpose unlike anything else. I started writing it when I was dealing with my own fears and thoughts about feeling like I didn’t fit in with people. During this time, I felt like God wanted me to start reading through the first couple of books in the new testament, primarily focusing on the misfits that surrounded Jesus. What I saw was how people who never fit in were used, and they ushered in the church and spreading the gospel. It is quite an amazing thing to see, and it culminated in this last post which I am writing now. I want to talk about being a misfit in community with other misfits. The thing that’s hard about feeling like you don’t fit in, is the fact that many of us stop there and begin to believe there’s no place for us. The truth is, we can come together as misfits and be in community together, because when we do this, we become the church.
Have you ever watched kids at play? It’s one of the best things to see. You see kids create incredible stories and live in worlds that could not possibly be in existence, yet it is alive in the minds of children. I think back to when I was a kid; I would fight countless battles against robots in my back yard, save the world from villains as a superhero (with all the powers, duh), and I would win the hearts of all those I defended. Countless battles and I would never lose. Kids come together and join their vast worlds to play for hours on end, going from the wild west to the outer reaches of space. There is truly nothing like watching kids at play, and there is power in their play. I think God wants us to be like that, to think like a kid. A child’s mind is open and they have faith that in everything they pursue, they will achieve. They are not jaded by experiences, they simply want to move forward and change the world around them. I think we need to remember this, I think we need to start thinking like kids again.
Recently, I’ve been scared. There’s lots of scary stuff going on in my life. End of the semester stress, graduating this year, starting a job to fund raise for a future career of ministry, and simply wanting to do what God has called me for. I’ve been scared, but God is bigger than my fears. This past week had many cool moments occur. I learned that I had the chance to speak at our high school ministry, I had a great conversation with my campus pastor, and I had a chance to pray over people in our city. That’s the moment where it happened, where a simple thing hit me in my moment of feeling weak. Prayer. One of those basic things we have in our walk with Christ. So simple, yet often I overlook the importance of prayer. In my season of fear I have been praying a lot, asking for a sign (some kind of neon lights in the sky to point me) I have been wanting all the answers to my life immediately. God doesn’t work on my schedule. Aww man! But it would be so much nicer, I mean, I know what’s best for me! That’s my human side, and it’s many of your reactions too, well maybe you don’t whine, but you get the idea. In all of my fear, I am choosing to pray, because when I choose to humble myself, then the Lord works.
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We continue our series of lessons from b-movies to give us a stronger battle plan for the spiritual warfare we all face, with today looking at the pitfalls of things that suck life away. I always love the way vampires are depicted in movies, these evil creatures who lure victims to them, and drink their blood (ewww). It’s a very visual image when you look at it, this monster literally sucks the life out of their victim. It’s easy to watch these movies and giggle because the vampire just looks like an obvious bad guy, I mean who wears a suit and lives in a creepy castle, only a vampire duh. I think the crazy part is, this happens to many of us on a daily basis. Okay, not the creature who wants to drink your blood, but there are things in our life that we let suck our lives away. We put ourselves in toxic relationships, waste our time with things that don’t matter, and we choose to live on our own; we choose to be independent from God. The truth is, we need to seek what gives us life by becoming dependent on Christ.