Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sharing Your Faith isn't Always Enough

One thing I've really had to work at in my endeavors of blogging is to break down my walls. I'm a very personal individual; I like to remain isolated, to say the least, giving directions to my location to a very small circle of trusted friends. I think I'll always be that way verbally. But, writing is my way of getting my voice out into the world, and still feel like I've maintained privacy. Saying all of that, I'm going to be dreadfully honest here: I've started feeling like my life was missing something. Maybe even a lot of somethings. Don't get me wrong... I'm not unhappy or depressed... I'm still very positive about life and eager to live it. Yet, I've found myself still searching. For what, I'm not really sure. I just have big dreams and crazy plans, and I feel myself being pulled into something greater... something bigger... and it's caused me to reevaluate my priorities and my purpose.

So, how many of us have been the one to introduce someone to our faith? How many of us have been the recipient of said introduction? Well, no matter which category you fall in, I hope this speaks to you just a little bit. I hope you see the importance, as I've recently seen, at how it takes connecting with people on a higher level. You can't just say, "Hey, Jesus loves you," and disappear. Sometimes we have to pop our little bubble and be there for people for other "life" occasions. Our hearts have to be willing to take in what someone needs us to understand, and our minds have to be willing to make room for someone else's dreams sometimes. We have to get back to really knowing people. Our friendships are lacking more and more depth. Our versatility is slimming. Our constant cheering "Be all you can be" has too long been backed by emptiness. By all means, share your faith, give someone hope and something bigger to believe in. But, don't stop there.

I've had to overcome a lot of bitterness and frustrations because of all I feel I missed out on growing up. I was advised not to attend a secular college in pursuit of journalism for religious reasons. Now, at 27, no degree behind me, and this huge passion to write, I've had to fight off some anger. I was banned from making any connections with anyone different than me, causing my realm of influence and support to be incredibly small now at this point. I've had to fight through complexes and low self-esteem, work extra hard to find friends, and push aside thoughts of "what if's" and "if only's" practically on a daily basis. These circumstances have definitely lit a fire under me and caused me to realize my destiny is up to me to fulfill. They've pushed me to be strong and understand how important a belief in myself is. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and that God can turn every bad thing into something incredible, and I am trusting Him to show me exactly how that's going to work out for me. Still, it's caused me to see people in a different light. It's made me rethink how I practice my faith. While I still introduce Jesus, as He is the One who made the difference in my life, I've also seen from His Word that He intends for me to connect with those He longs to reach. And I've started realizing that the connections He has in mind, don't always match up with those I have or others have for me.

There have been sporadic moments throughout my life where I've felt a deep sense of loneliness. I don't mean that I felt like no one cared for me or about me. It was a "no one gets me" feeling. I would fill my time up with obligations and responsibilities, thinking that would solve the problem. For a little while, it did. My days would be so full of "to do's," I didn't really have a chance to think about anything else. But, I started feeling like there was a bigger purpose for me, when during those few breather moments, this tugging on my heart became a lot more noticeable.

Even after a previous post, regarding my influence as a property manager, I let myself forget again that ministry isn't always performed in the church. I have been given a talent and a love for singing, playing music, and teaching, etc. And, while I will continue to occasionally use those abilities, I've finally understood that there are more talents that I leave sitting up high on a shelf, because there's no one "pressuring" me to use those. Writing, for one, is the major passion. The spark was ignited in high school, grew throughout college, and now it's almost all I think about. But, when I sit at a coffee shop pouring my heart onto paper, it doesn't always look like ministry to others around me. I let that get to me sometimes. I can't put into words the drive that I carry with me. My mind is constantly racing with ideas, hopes, and plans of how to get to what I want to achieve. Because of that, I feel so different from a lot of those around me. I don't feel a connection or comfortable in sharing my innermost thoughts. It's given me quite the passion to find those who feel like me. I want to be their support system and the wind beneath their wings.

I wish I had more of that in my life; past and present. But, I'm glad, really, I guess in a way, that I didn't/don't, because it's the very thing that opened my eyes to see that as a Christian, sharing my faith isn't where my job ends. That's practically all I remember growing up... people sharing their faith, their beliefs, and their opinions regarding religious questions. I never heard any commending over one going to nursing school, getting their degree in education, or opportunities leading to a writing career. In fact, I don't know of hardly anyone that pursued any of the aforementioned careers. My husband was actually lectured for his "ungodly desire to pursue a medical career when {he} was called to preach." Participating in sports was ridiculed and looked at in disgust, musical career goals were mocked and never supported, and if you wanted to pursue anything other than homemaking, preaching, or pastoring, you were all but deemed "completely nonspiritual." I was led to believe that if you went after anything on a "carnal" level, you were saying you didn't have time to be "spiritually minded." But, Luke, in the Bible, was a physician. Matthew was a tax collector. David was a songwriter/singer for his king. Peter was a fisherman. Paul was a tent maker. Esther was a queen. Joseph worked alongside Pharaoh. The list could go on. You can make a huge difference in this world, no matter what profession or position you go after.

I won't waste anymore time going over anything else I've left behind me, but felt it necessary to share a little to better understand my emotions at this time in my life. I struggled so much throughout the majority of my life trying to find myself. Sometimes I still battle whatever it is I'm longing to be. I love singing and playing music and participating in church, but my calling lies elsewhere. I've recently learned that there are people even more introverted than me, that get their encouragement and motivation from reading someone else's words... Sometimes, they've been my words that have helped someone deal with a situation. I am someone who feels compelled to make deep connections with people; not just on a spiritual level, but a practical one, as well. While we should always glorify God in all we do, the majority of our life is practical. We have to work, take care of our bodies, worry about our health, deal with family and friends, prioritize our schedules, etc. Why not love the way you do all of those things? That's where my heart is. I wish I could express just how colossal my desire is to help people wake up excited, go throughout their day happily, and go to bed satisfied.

Just this week this fire was kindled in me again as I attended a Zumba class. I know the lady that leads it and attend church with her regularly. I have to say, watching her lead those dance/exercises, it was plain to see that she was in her zone. She was loving every second of it. Smile beaming from ear to ear, whoops and hollers of encouragement, nods of approval... the whole shebang. I'm sure she has other areas of skill and expertise, but I can also say, I have no doubts that helping women reach their weight-loss goals and get healthier bodies is a ministry that she is amazing at. Too often, the church world doesn't view anything other than spiritual communications as a way to serve Christ. (Let me add here, that the church I attend is the exception. The vision and understanding our leaders are clothed in is unreal. They've been the very ones who've made me comfortable enough to search out God's divine plan for me. I thank God for them every single day.) I can assure you, that a woman who feels healthy and more confident about herself will make a much more effective witness than one who constantly fights battles within herself. My new friend, well, she is helping me and countless others get to their highest level of potential when it comes to that.

My mind has been racing since that Zumba class. It confirmed for me once again how much God intends to use practical-everyday life-things to build you up in every level, including the spiritual. So, my challenge and encouragement to you today is this: If you have a talent of any kind, use it! If you have a passion of any kind, go after it! If you've dreamed a thousand dreams, make them a reality. Every little thing about you is unique and God-given for a specific reason. You have no idea just how much you'll be able to help someone or even relate to someone who feels lost, when you decide to go after whatever it is burning in your heart.

Here in the near future I'm supposed to attend a poetry group with another new and precious friend of mine. While this invite opened up a whole new level of awesome for me, she has shared how much this is going to mean to her. We both apparently pour our hearts out on paper... and now we both have someone who understands just how much that means to us. Not only that, but we're going to be introduced to others and get to share our stories in a poetic way. What an awesome way to witness, right? I never thought of it like that before, but now it makes perfect sense!

God loves having relationships with us all. He is the biggest source of encouragement out there, and He sets opportunities up right in front of us. No one wants us to prosper more than He does, and I'm so excited to finally learn just what that means.

When you love what you're doing, only good can come from it... especially when He's in it.

So I have decided, more than ever, that I'm going to push everyone I know to keep practicing their talents and abilities, no matter what they are. Whether you play football or paint on a canvas, there will always be people in your path to reach. If we all follow the same road, there's a whole world of people we'll never get close to. I'm going to say that again,

If we all follow the same road, there's a whole world of people we'll never get close to.

I fully believe in going to church, participating in whatever ministry you can, and supporting other works around you. But, that's not where it ends for the majority of us. That's just not enough to fulfill the destiny God has laid out for some of us. If you buried that dream, dig it back up! Clutch it tightly in your hands and ask God to lead you to doors that open to amazing adventures!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams (and calling!) Live the life you've imagined." -Henry David Thoureau

There's no list of acceptable, world-changing, jobs out there. Only you know what fervor and zeal you have beating inside you. Only you can make them count for something.

1 Corinthians 10:31- "So whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

You can find this blog linked up to some other incredible sites: The Time Warp WifeCornerstone ConfessionsTeaching What is GoodA Bowl Full of LemonsA Peek into My ParadiseRosilind JukicProverbs 14 Verse 1Women with IntentionGiving Up on PerfectDucks 'N a RowI Choose JoyA Handful of EverythingBusy Being BlessedEssential     Thing Devotions, and many more!

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  1. Incredible post! I'm glad God uses our strengths for His glory. True ministry is using our God-given calling and gifts for His glory. We are called to make disciples in the "marketplace" not babysit the saved:)

    1. Thank you, Jason, for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I love that quote! And the accuracy of that statement is so true... I just pray everyday that God gives me a heart for all people in all situations. Thanks for reading... and for your kind words!