Some would think the ambiance of where I am to be distracting. The hum and woosh of the espresso machine. The people talking. Jingle of change in the tip jar. The smells of coffee and baked bread mingling in the air.
I find it inspiring. I’m an ENFP. That might not mean anything to some of you but, it mostly means I love, and am inspired by, lots of activity around me. I love people. I love sounds. I love smells. Especially when they go well with one another. The perfect place? A coffee shop. Such a great place for me to reignite passion.
A few years ago, my Pastor preached about passion. The context comes from scripture in Song of Songs. It’s passion as related to a relationship but, he took it a little farther to speak to other passions. Like passion for a hobby. While I’m not the most grammatically correct person, I love to write. There is something so therapeutic about writing out my thoughts. When I see them on the screen, or on paper, it’s a satisfaction that reveals some piece of healing for me. I love that. The past two years, this passion began to swell. I began a ministry blog that focused on sharing pieces of my story. The vision and passion for it was huge. There was a fire lit from within and I invited several other women to join me. While those few ladies joined me for a time, the passion, was not reciprocated. I watched my personal passion for this begin to fizzle because of it. While I watched it fizzle, I chose to walk away. The questions and doubts began to invade every part of the passion that was once there until it was completely gone.
“Why is no one jumping on board with this???”
“How can I light a fire and empower other women to join me???”
“There is NO way, on God’s green earth, I am the ONLY one who loves to write and share my story!!! Or am I???”
So many questions. So many days and nights of pouring out my heart to Jesus. And then, I gave it up. Just walked away. The timing of it all wasn’t completely off, though. Women’s Ministry at my church was picking up. I have a full-time job and other commitments with ministry. Between meeting with ladies, and work and such, the time to focus on this blog just didn’t feel right. I took it as maybe the Lord saying, “not right now”.
Have you ever walked away from something that seemed like it wasn’t the right time but, it still didn’t rest well?
My pastor also shared this in his message: Passion isn't lost as much as it's forsaken.
Forsaken. Deserted. Abandoned.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes to me in subtle ways and sometimes He comes to me with a good bop on the head. Well, the bop on the head is how He showed up today. That quote about passion being forsaken was for me. Especially when it came to the passion I have for writing and sharing my story. This passion I have for empowering women to share their own. You know what I want? I want every single woman, that I come in contact with, to know they have a story worth sharing. Every part of it. The ugly and the glorious. The sorrowful and the celebratory. The heartache and the beauty. Every. Single. Part.
This is what I believe: No matter the pain we have been through and no matter the twisted, disgusting or hurtful experiences we have been through, when Jesus grabs hold of our hearts, those pieces of our story are redeemed and beautified.
He turns ASHES into BEAUTY. That is what my God can do! And when we experience that; when we say YES to Jesus and declare that we will no longer be bound by those things the enemy meant to trip us up with, we should be shouting it out for other women to hear and declaring the hope that we have! That hope can be the key to another woman's salvation! It could be that one thing that will stop her in her tracks and, decide that Jesus is all she needs. Let me share with you my own story about this.
Right when I was first deciding how much I was going to go in with following Jesus, I joined a small group of young women. It was there that I was on the receiving end of a woman sharing her story. As she shared, I felt the hairs on my arms stand up and my heart began to beat quickly. This woman had a similar childhood and similar hurt; she also struggled with identity issues and confidence issues; a woman who could easily be my spiritual twin. Because of her story and her obedience in sharing it, I can say, with confidence, it’s because that I am where I’m at today. Because she decided to go all in with her story, I made the choice to go all in with Jesus.
There is nothing like feeling alone. Feeling broken. Feeling like you are dirty and strange because you feel like you are the only one who has gone through certain circumstances and think the thoughts you do. The things that held me back from sharing were shame. If someone knows what I struggle with, I will no longer be accepted. I will be declared a lost hope. I would be sent away. People would be disgusted and judgmental.
While I won’t gloss things over and say none of that will happen, unfortunately, it will. There will be the small few who will receive my story with a clouded lens. The GOOD NEWS is, my story could reach many.
My pastor mentioned many times in his message that “Passion is brought back to life by doing the things you did at first.” I’m doing the things I did at first. I’m sharing my story and I am writing. I’m digging my heels in the ground and revisiting why I want to do this. Why I love to write. Why I love to share. I’m sitting in this coffee shop amidst the hums, chatter, jingling and smells. I’m watching women walk through the doors with stories. Stories to be heard. Stories that are not finished yet. Stories that include Jesus and how He has redeemed their souls. Stories that are on the brink of restoration. Stories that need to hear YOUR story.
Listen, I want you to know something: God wants your soul so that He can restore and redeem you. He created you and He sure loves His creation! SO much! He hates the pain we have to deal with. We will never fully understand why we have to go through some of the things we go through but the peace that passes understanding overrules any doubt and fear we may have. It really does!
So, what has happened with the passion I once had for that ministry blog? Something that God has been doing is refining my eyes and training my heart to see HIS perspective. (This will never be perfected until I’m in heaven doing the running man with Jesus, by the way.) Each moment and in everything I do, I see Him taking something that I’ve lost passion for or have gotten frustrated with, and He reveals to me more of what “He meant when He placed the passion in me.” And it causes me to respond with “Oooooh, that’s what You meant!” When it comes to that ministry blog, while it was a wonderful thing and I’m so thankful for the experience and the women it brought into my life, it wasn’t exactly the way God meant for me to do it. Not to mention the timing was all wrong.
As I head into this new year, the passion for writing has been reignited. My writing is not to glorify myself and it's not to show off. Each day, I want to take this all to the Lord first and seek Him. Ask Him, "Lord, what would you want to say today?" I believe that the Holy Spirit is also tapping you on the shoulder today - "passion is brought back to life when you do things you did at first." What will you do to be obedient? What is standing in your way? Pray about those things and, bring them to the Lord. He will fling wide the doors to whatever it is He is calling you to. You just need to trust and have faith.
Our God is so good. So, so good. And He loves you more than anyone on this earth could!