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Passions for a Reason

This year I decided to attempt the impossible... a daily devotional. I'm not saying they're impossible to read! Just very difficult to stay committed to. Like New Year's resolutions, diets, and a daily workout schedule. Maybe you can relate. HOWEVER, this time, I'm so happy to say that I am 188 days in! Ok, fine. I might be a few days behind... but progress is still being made! The book I'm working through is called Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff. I have always enjoyed his books and amazing perspective on life and the joys that fill it.

For the last couple of weeks, a main theme in the devotional has been chasing the passions that God has placed in our hearts. I kinda thought the timing was pretty perfect. I feel like so often in life we push our dreams, passions, and bright ideas into a box until it will be convenient to open them back up; that we shouldn't waste our valuable time on the pipe dreams. And there is a slight possibility that sometimes that is true. I mean, one probably shouldn't throw away their life savings to knit every penguin in the world a scarf to keep them warm. Blessings on the penguins, but they've made it this far. I'm talking about the soft nudges that God places on our hearts and the bright passions that could show the world a bit more of His character.

Have you ever sat in a public place and wondered who the people briskly walking around you are? Sometimes it's hard to sit back and realize that every face you see represents a person with a lifetime of memories, fears, dreams, joyful moments, and heartbreaks. Everyone is so unique. Although I will never know the impact that each person I see will have on the world, there are a few people close to me that are so amazing, so influential in their own way, and perfectly designed by God to do the good things He has planned for them (Ephesians 2:10). I'm gonna highlight a few.

My sister is a firecracker. Growing up, people would say that Gracie had enough social ability for the two of us combined. This was good, because I was quite shy. She's talkative, expressive, social, and happy to meet anyone she crosses paths with. By the time she was about 6 years old, I realize that this was a perfect opportunity for me to get out of some of the painfully awkward situations that I wholeheartedly avoided. In other words, social interactions of any kind. If "I" had to pay for something, I'd give her the cash and direct her to the sales counter. If "I" needed to make a phone call, I'd dile the number and hand her the phone. She did it all with a smile. It was the PERFECT arrangement! Gracie has always had a roaring passion for people. Unfortunately, many times people have tried to suppress her zeal in life by telling her to quiet down. I'll admit, sometimes even I have made a few "word count" jokes with her. But her voice and social abilities are a huge part of who she is.I'm sure God picked out those attributes for her, knowing exactly how

many people she would connect with, show love to, make smile, and show a quick snapshot of His character to. So what does passion have to do with that? Gracie has always wanted to teach. Her passion is people, and if she decided to push her critiqued attributes down the drain, she wouldn't make the ripple effect of loving influence that has already shaken this world and definitely will continue to grow in the future.

Gracie and I when we were young... Sooo different.

Another person who has fought to step out in her passion for writing is my mom. My mother recently wrote a novel that will be published soon. This was no easy task. It took her years to finish it, having to deal with my procrastination when it came to the illustrations (haha it's a joke), and probably countless nerves telling her that her thoughts weren't worth publishing for the world to see. But God placed that passion in her heart. As I mentioned, she asked me to illustrate the novel for her, and I agreed. Part of illustrating a book is that you obviously need to know what it's about and how the story goes, so I read it. It was so good. Half the time I forgot that I actually know the person who wrote it! It made me laugh, cry, and think about Jesus in a way I never had before. Now THAT is a passion that God placed in her heart and helped her carry though, knowing that her writing ability would bless people.

I can think of so many other examples of people I know using their God-given skills and passions even though it might be difficult. Like my dad who is working on building up 2 coffee startups with his close friend. My boyfriend who is blessed with a brain that understands mathy things. He helped so many people, including myself, with math and science in highschool when the only thing some of us expected to get out of a math lesson was a panic attack. And now he's studying engineering in university and being a light to his classmates there. Or my brother who has the incredible ability to make people laugh and feel accepted.

I've found that when we walk with the Lord, and make an effort to spend time with Him, He often places these dreams in our hearts that cause us to decide whether or not we are willing to step out in faith and put our perfectly accepted selves on the line. We might wonder if it's worth trying something a bit different if our social status, finances, or relationships might change? That's when trust comes into play. I need to be able to trust that the same God who lead me to take a leap of faith will guide me along the way. He doesn't just push us off a cliff without a parachute and shout, "good luck"! That's why it is so important to ask Him for wisdom and sometimes perseverance too, and ask Him to show us how we can use our desires to make a positive imprint on the world. And honestly, sometimes you just have to go ahead and ask, "God, is this a really stupid idea or is it something I should actually do?".

I don't know if you have ever danced on the line of diving into a passion of yours or staying safe on a boat far away from the potential sharks below. But I will say, no one ever created an explosion of change by doing nothing. Have you been toying with the idea of leading a Bible study, investing in a person, writing a book, or applying to a difficult program? Maybe it's time to stop thinking about it, and start trusting that God has designed you and your passions with a purpose in mind. The worst thing that can happen is you flop. But then you just have to get back up and try again. I know it's cheesy, but it's true. On the flip side, try thinking of someone that has impacted you positively because they chose to step out in faith. Are you happy that they did? You could be that light to someone too.

I hope that this gets you thinking about what you have to offer that no one else does. What's a dream or passion of yours that you think God might be nudging you towards?

Until next time,

Emmanuelle Connor

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