Monday, September 8, 2014

Restless Passion

Have you ever asked someone about what they want to do in life, what their dreams are, and then sit there as their eyes light up while they tell you about the desires that truly come from the heart? They can't help but smile and tell you every detail they've thought of. Then usually at some point in the conversation of them telling you ideas, and you asking questions that get them to dig deeper into their dream, their eyes cloud over. They look down and start thinking about how silly they sound rambling on about this thing that has always been in their heart and on their mind. The mood changes drastically and you can't help but wonder why they think they sound so silly. Everyone has dreams, right? You have them, I have them, so why feel silly or out of line about wanting to pursue them?

I recently read a book for the book club that the ladies ministry at my church had for the summer called Restless by Jennie Allen. It came at the perfect time for me. When I read the back of this book I knew I needed to read it. It talks about feeling like you are made for more, but not sure what, or not sure how to go about it, or not sure if you will really be fulfilling your purpose.
A couple weeks before the books were announced I had been telling my mom how I'd been feeling lost and like I don't know what I want to do with my life and I don't know how to figure it out because there are so many things to pick from.
Everyone has just kind of assumed that this is something that has bothered me since I moved home 2 years ago and got divorced. False. It has been something that has always bothered me, though getting divorced was a good excuse for feeling lost too. It was a drastic change to my life. But I've always had these dreams that have always seemed too big and unrealistic so I tried to find other things to fill those places in my heart.
At one part in the book it talks about what your passions are. Did I know what I was passionate about? Jennie explained that people have passions mixed up with things that they love.
Passion is Latin for suffering. An intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.
What Jennie was really asking was what am I willing to suffer for?

When I was 13 and becoming really active in a youth group our youth leader Robbie begged the question, what do you want your legacy to be? What do you feel like God is leading you to do to help and love those around you?
I had two dreams after that discussion. One was of serving in Kenya, Africa...and the other...well, it was to make music. To sing.
I brushed both dreams off thinking it was just a random coincidence that I had had them then, but things kept happening that said otherwise. I kept fighting against them though. All I could think was "What are people going to think of me? There's no way I'm special enough to do any of that." So I squished those hopes and dreams for years. They would rear up in my life every now and then, like when I participated in drama, singing for the church where I was apart of the youth, little nudgings about Africa here and there. But I continued to ignore it. I didn't feel worthy of such big tasks.
Then I got the chance to finally serve in Africa. It was incredible. And while I was in Kenya, one of the guys on the trip with us told us about how someone had spoke music over him before he even ever picked up a guitar. Now he is an incredibly accomplished musician and singer. He even has an EP out on iTunes. That was actually really discouraging to me. How was it that he had someone confirm something in his life before he had even considered it, but I had been praying and wondering about this very thing for about 12 years and God hadn't told anyone to speak life over me? (The irony that I was feeling discouraged about one dream while completing another dream was not lost on me)

Then I read Restless. My passion was enough. God doesn't put stirrings in our hearts unless it's for a good reason.
One activity in the book asked about our gifts and sufferings in life and my gifts and sufferings matched up. I am a ridiculously observant person and a great listener, mostly because for a good part of my life I have never felt heard or seen. People find it easy to cut me off when in conversations or just brush off what I say. I like giving people a voice. And in the midst of all this, I find hope in music, in telling peoples stories through song, in letting people be heard. I felt the stirring in my soul even more.
But then I started feeling selfish, like dreaming of such things was simply a fleshly desire and not a calling God would have. But as I continued in the book Jennie talked about all the different ways God uses talents. He wouldn't have created talents if they weren't meant to be used.
I had another dream. This time where both my love of music and my heart for Africa came together. Where I can use one to support the other, and I can use one to give a voice to people that desperately need and want to be heard.
There are moments in my life that I doubt many of the things I long for, but then God gives me a vision or a dream that I am heading in the right direction. Having someone speak over Matt about music was how he spoke to Matt...but that's not necessarily how he has chosen to speak to Jessica.

Some from here on out I will no longer let my smile falter when I talk about pursuing music. I don't know how I am going to do it or what will come of it but I have been nudged too many times to ignore it anymore. I know God has a plan to use it for my passion. I am willing to suffer for it. To put all other things on hold for these things. I will unapologetically say no to other things so I can make way for this thing. I want a free and passionate kind of living. There is not one part of me that exists by accident and I am no longer going to let something stop me from running wildly towards my purpose.

So that is the point of this posting. I am shouting to the world what I am passionate about. What makes my soul tick and what keeps me up at night. I will no longer be afraid to sound dumb, or selfish, or like I just want some kind of fame. That's not why I am doing this. I could care less about fame. I care about people. I love people. And I care about peoples souls. God knows this and he knew how he would have me work in this life. I am no longer going to be restless, but reckless. I am going to run wildly and reckless in the way that God is leading me so that when I die and stand before him I can tell him I used every once of talent he ever blessed me with.
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