I’ve never experienced passion like I have in this past year of living in Athens. I have seen passion fostered and passion overflowing. I have felt my own passion stirring up my beating heart and my scrambled mind. I have experienced the power of passion move mountains. Passion is weaving its way thread by thread through this city — seeking to fill every empty and dead space. The threads of passion that I find myself tangled up in are taking me by storm— in the best way possible.
I am surrounded by passionate people every day and I feel constantly pushed and encouraged to seek out what is the very thing that arouses my heart and mind. I’ve found that the Lord has given me a zeal for various things that range from soccer to education to writing to fighting for the underdog. In all of these things He has led me to experience freedom in a new way. I have been the girl who was fully alive and free when dancing with the ball between the blades of the grass. I have been impacted heavily by the teachers who believed in me more than I ever believed in myself. I have been drawn into the healing that derives from pouring out an overflow of the heart into words on a page. I have been the underdog who someone fought for and, in turn, I have been the one fighting for the underdog. I feel very strongly about all these things, but above all else, I’ve learned that I am more passionate than anything about the underlying story.
I don’t just love the sport of soccer, I love the purpose behind why an individual becomes so alive, so free, and so different when they step onto a field. I love education because it is a place where a a kid spends most of their childhood learning and growing. The teacher has an opportunity like no other to be someone who sees a kid for all their potential and then pushes them to that. A teacher gets the chance to unravel the underlying story behind a kid’s behavior. I love that there is always a mystery of purpose behind why someone writes— the author gets to share an intimate bond between their words because only they can understand why they said what they said. All things written derive from the underlying story of someone. I love the underdog because their story is full a beautiful fight of beating the odds.
So many of my friends over this past year have exemplified what it means to see people for people. Losing assumptions is every bit trying and can be a constant battle to do, but when it is done it is absolutely life altering. Now I am not saying I have stopped making assumptions myself, because that is still a very messy thing that my heart and mind does. But, I have seen others do this and I have felt the freedom of trying to do so. When we seek and see the underlining story behind a person, it almost becomes impossible to not love them. When we see people for people verses seeing people for their poverty, or disability, or stereotype, or track record then we can begin loving instead of denying. When we take the chance to understand the root behind why someone does something our heart begins to break instead of harden. There is an underlying story behind it all that sits right next to grace and mercy. You can find it behind the tears one cries, the passion one has, and the words one speaks.
I think the reason I love to read other’s words more than anything is because those words hold meaning and purpose to that individual. Those words stem from the story of their life and because of that, those words are valuable.The way a person pieces together words to express themselves is utterly unique to that person. No life is lived and experienced identically and no words are written or pieced together identically. You see, you are the only you and oh how I hope you can see that that’s one of the greatest gifts we are given.
Every story has the right to be heard because the Lord of all is the author. He is writing our story better than we ever could and then chooses to use our story to impact another. Your story may be consumed of brokenness, despair, and darkness— but when you pass through the waters He is with you in it. He is working to build your story up to abound with strength, fight, and beauty in the midst of all that is broken. Where you have been, what you have done, or who you have been does not define you but it does build you. His love is written in the blank spaces between every word of your story.
Know that your story is something so special that you and Him get to share together and also know that your story is worthy of being told. Know that your words are valuable. Know that your life has meaning and purpose. Know that He has manifested Himself in all that you experience and He goes with you and before you.
In turn, lets seek to lose assumptions but gain a heart for His people. Lets push on to see that their is an underlying story behind the behaviors others exhibit. Lets start seeing people for people.
People matter. You matter. Your passions matter. Your words matter.
Your story matters.