Thursday, January 10, 2013

Living your intended passion

Hello friends!

Well, the preparation is in full swing for my very first international trip! I'm leaving for Moldova in just 10 days! I'll be joined by a fabulous group of women, all of us writers and workers for the Lord. Needless to say, this Texas girl is a bit worried about the cold, but God is timely in calming my fears and keeping my anxiety at bay. I am learning to let go of everything I cannot control....which in most situations is everything!

As I have been in preparations, I have been thinking a lot about callings, gifts, talents and so forth. All my life I wanted to be special. I had always felt ordinary or below ordinary. I was so shy I would rarely venture out of the alternate reality I had created for myself in my own mind trap...there I was special. God uses life to grow us to our calling. Through circumstances out of my control He finally got my attention and pulled me (yes, pulled....I was kicking and screaming) out of my alternate reality and into His reality. It was as though I had finally woke up. I could breathe and live like I never thought possible. It took me being willing to yes.

For as much as I thought I wanted to be special, once I began to live in my calling, I thought it was just plain weird. I tried to separate my called life from my daily life. If you have ever tried to do that then you know it NEVER ends the way YOU plan. So, I struggled. For years I would play one card at church and hide my tricks under the table. Every once in a while God would open a door, either through a ladies retreat or fellow church member. It seemed that as soon as the door was opened I would dig my heels in and place my back firmly against it screaming NO!!!!!! There was even a time I felt that God must have made a huge mistake.....I got a bum gift.

By this point you are probably wondering what on earth this gift could be right? Human nature dictates we feed our curiosity. Well, I fell into the fitness world a decade ago, completely by what I thought was accident. I lived my fitness life and my church life respectively separate and I liked it that way. I could be myself in the fitness world. I could talk about anatomy, body fat and body image without feeling like I was digging into wounds I had no place looking. Then, I found a passion. Have you ever experienced true passion? I'm not talking about the fleeting lust when you first met your spouse here people...I'm referring to passion. Spark in the eye, dry mouth, heart pounding, "I HAVE TO CONQUER" passion. This is the stuff that gets you out of bed with a pep in your step. It's the spicy sauce that makes your life worth while. And guess what? God wants you to live with passion!!!! I found mine in fighting. Yes, my name is Michelle and I like to hit things. I mean, I REALLY LIKE TO HIT THINGS!

This began as a simple request. I was working at a gym and the kickboxing instructor did not show up. I, the yoga teacher, had to take over. It was awful...but I was determined to learn. That was nearly 10 years ago. Through those years I have broken away from choreographed fat burning to true impact. I have learned how strong I really can be. There is something magical for me about a woman who has felt stripped of all she has be able to unleash a strength she never felt. Now, I train in MMA, teach self defense classes and strive to empower people to be their absolute best. I really do live the dream! My dream :)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

We all know that verse, but have we truly lived it. For years, I lived outside of God's plan thinking that the very thing He had given me a passion for could be of no use to Him. What a way to live! I felt torn between 2 states all the time. I was miserable and never really had a true sense of self. If God gives it, He can use. Honestly, He intents to use and if He gave it to you, you had better be willing to let it be used!

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:12

We often forget that verse. To me, it is even more beautiful than the first. He will listen. He wants to listen to me, He longs to make a way for my perceived "weirdness" to show His glory! He WILL MAKE A WAY. Want proof?

As we are preparing for this trip an email was sent about bringing your specific gifts to share with the girls in Moldova. Immediately I knew what that was, but promptly began to try to find something else. I thought, "Everybody will think I am such a weirdo wanting to teach these girls to fight". Honestly, I figured I would be kicked off the trip. I mean, others are bringing musical talents, craft talents, cooking talents....things they can really use. I struggled with God. As a matter of fact, when I finally sent my email about bringing my weird talent, I was almost defiant. With an eye roll and a teenage sigh I said "Your will be done" and hit send. Within a minute I received a reply saying "We need you in Africa. Let's talk about this when you get back." Excuse me? I can still go?

God dealt with me that day. I put everybody else's gifts on higher pedestals, He sees us as one. Do these girls need what I have to offer? If you have ever had your strength of being stripped from the fabric of who you are, would you need somebody to show you that you are not as weak as you were told? I have worked with women who have lost themselves. They find it behind the bag. It's not an act of violence, it is a release of all the hateful words that have been breathed upon them. They hold their head high, some for the very first time in life.

Am I weird? You bet...but that is just what God needs to make a change. One weirdo, willing to say yes.


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