Designed with Intention
Talking about my passion for the Lord is fairly easy when the conversation remains strictly on Him, His character, and what He has already done via the Bible.
Struggle usually begins when we shift to recounting personal experiences.
Much like feelings, I can’t deny how you’ve encountered Jesus in your life. I can’t deny the way you hear His voice, or how you feel His presence, or what you’ve witnessed in the supernatural. I just have to take your word for it; just as you have to take mine. As much as I would like to believe that God being the topic of discussion would keep us united throughout it, I fear that the minute we go personal, we suddenly enter in to a terrible episode of the Bachelor.
Given that we are all vying for the attention of our King, sometimes when we share about our encounters, or even express our passion for Him differently than one another, it can often start to feel like a competition. We have a good and gracious Father who is capable of intimately connecting with each one of us. But even knowing that, it is still difficult not to compare or contrast our encounters with Him to those around us, especially in spiritual settings.
But before I challenge us to rise above those human tendencies, I want to target the “why” behind them.
I think it is really hard to stand strong in who you are and how you were made to be.
I’m not just talking about the typical love your body, love yourself spiel. I’m talking about truly understanding how you function as a person and being able to cherish the intentionality that God had in designing you that way. I have spent years fighting against the way that I was made. I am the token crier in every group I’ve ever been in. Whether I’m happy, angry, tired, hungry, joyful, hopeless, or inspired, they all pretty much end in tears at some point.
Do you know the amount of energy I’ve spent trying to pray that part of my personality away?
When I feel the presence of God in my life, I cry.
Do you know how hard it is to be taken seriously when emotions are involved? So much of what I’ve said, God-ordained or not, has been discredited by my never-ending waterworks. They are inconvenient. They are untimely. They are embarrassing. But for the first time in my life, I’m aware that they are me. When I know the Holy Spirit is upon me, I cry. I have a physical indicator of a spiritual phenomenon.
Why would I beg to take that away?
Passion presents itself differently in each of us because the Holy Spirit presents itself differently in each of us—that is not something to compare and contrast. It is something to celebrate and praise God for. I love that not everyone operates in the same form or fashion, because if they did, we wouldn’t have the vast and diverse God that we serve. How we experience and express Him is just a little piece of His gigantic identity puzzle.
Each of us matters in telling the world who Jesus is.
My husband, Shea, experiences passion in more of a logical way. He reads books, watches videos, and takes classes all to better understand whatever the thing is that God moves within him to do. He doesn’t have to cry for me to know that God is up to something in His life. When Shea walks out his passion, I get see a direct reflection of God’s intentionality. His way isn’t better or worse than mine, they are both strategically necessary to the furthering of God’s Kingdom.
We just have to hold them as equally valuable.
Jesus wept. He unashamedly wept. If I hide my tears—the purest form of my passion bubbling over, I deny those around me a chance to learn how sensitive and sincere their heavenly Father is. Similarly, you carry a unique piece of the God equation. Jesus didn’t just weep. But without your commitment to fully engaging God in the way that He designed you to encounter and express Him, we’re stuck with a limited picture of who He is.
I need your way and you need mine, and the world needs us to see the full Jesus.
Unity in this isn’t about conforming to one another’s expressions and experiences.
We have got to stop comparing and contrasting how we live out our faith. Healthy challenge is great; but condemnation is detrimental to our unity as believers and ministers to this world.
Just because we don’t experience or express God in the same way, doesn’t mean that He’s a different God for each of us. It is not a game. There aren’t levels. He doesn’t love one more and one less. It just takes willing candidates, choosing Him, and choosing to walk out their passion in the way that they were created to.
Celebrate how you were made to experience and express Him!
Value others. Celebrate how your differences working in tandem are the very thing that allows the Kingdom to advance. It can be that easy.
Kendra Vollstedt has a heart to see women connect and conquer through life together. She keeps it real for the sake of addressing the root issues that often stand in our way head-on. Her hope is that people will feel seen, heard and valued for who they are. That they will want to know Christ more through the Jesus they experience through her.