I’m grateful for those times I choose to stand in line at our Starbucks rather than just make my own drink behind the bar…I’m thankful for the conversations God brings me into while I wait.
“How long have you been in the neighborhood?” I ask.
“Two years. You?”
“About a year and half, we moved here from Seattle, we lived there for about 5 years.”
“What brought you here?”
“We’re down here training and being prepared to move to Spain.”
“Whoa, that’s awesome, to do what?”
“Well we’re involved with a non-for-profit that trains and mentors young people to live like Jesus lived and invest in their neighborhoods and communities.”
“Wow…that’s awesome – how old are you?”
“Oh you’re just a baby still.” She chuckles.
I sheepishly grin…
“Shoot (she didn’t say shoot), I still don’t know what I want to do with my life and I’m 44.” And just like that she begins to open up. “I studied economics in college (which I hated) and I got my masters in Asian studies, now I just work for the government.” She rolls her eyes and shrugs her shoulders.
“Wow, speaking of things that couldn’t be more different! That’s pretty cool, you got such a broad spectrum for school stuff. So, if you could do anything in the world what would you do?”
She thinks about it for a split second, her eyes light up, “I’d probably move back to Japan and work there and continue to study their culture.” She pauses and sighs, “but then I’d have to learn their language.” She awkwardly laughs…”I couldn’t do that. Plus I’m bogged down in loans…I’m kind of stuck.”
“Why not? It sounds like that’s what you love to do? I mean, you obviously got a masters in all things Asia for a reason, you should look into it! Nothings worse than just slugging it out day in and day out and knowing you’d rather do something else. You should go for it.”
And all at once, it was done – “I’ll take a triple tall Americano.”
Countless conversations I’ve had while making drinks, standing in line, or even ringing people up at the register center around passion and vocation. I’ve met and talked to so many people who seemingly work in a place that drains their life; while knowing deep down inside the thing that they really want to do, the thing that brings them joy, fills them with excitement, and enables them to soar is something completely different. I’m thankful for these conversations. I’m thankful for opportunities, to hear how God has uniquely shaped them, impassioned them; and I’m thankful that God allows me to, in those small instances, remind them that He’s done so. Not everyone will, can, or even should drop whatever they are doing to follow after their passion or calling. Shoot – some are currently in the process of getting there (I know our hands are raised!!). But I think we’d be remiss to completely write off those deep passions God’s implanted in us.
People need to be reminded it’s ok to dream. People need to be reminded of what they’re passionate about. People need to to be encouraged, loved, supported, nurtured, and even pushed a little bit. I know I do. Because it’s so terribly easy to let fear creep in, to allow circumstances to lull you into complacency, to get buried by the day in and day out routine and forget or even turn away from your true passion or calling.
I want to remind people to live into their passions. To be a person who encourages and even champions people’s passions. I need people to do that for me too. I’m grateful for those who have been “encouragers” and “pushers” in my own life. Many people have invested in both Jenifer and I over the years to help shape and mold and even direct us to where we are today. I pray that God would use me to remind others that He’s uniquely shaped them for His purposes. I pray that God would use me to remind my neighbors, my family, my friends, myself – to live into the passions He’s created us with.