In the few short weeks that we've had in this new year of 2012, I have had the blessing to be a part of the South Brandon Worship Center's Student Leadership Group. Last Wednesday was my second time attending, and only my third time attending youth group, but despite the obstacles I faced that day, going was worth it. I was sick and tired (no, for real, I was just sick and tired) and literally five minutes before I would have had to leave the house, I jumped up and go ready to go. I just felt like I needed to. I'm glad I did.
Once we got past the silly ice breaker of the day, we got to talking about passion. Passion for God, for the church, for serving, etc. Now, passion was always something I struggled with, because I've always lacked passion in pretty much everything. Now people who know me might disagree, but really, I've always possessed a great drive when it comes to determination, but determination and passion are two different things. Because I'm determined to do something doesn't mean I'm passionate to do it. My life was always lived in determination; there was never really a fire in my belly for Jesus or people or anything like that. The only thing that I've ever been passionate about was doing this- writing. That changed, though, a couple years ago, when I read CJ Mahaney's book "Living the Cross Centered Life", and I really had a passion for the cross. For Jesus. For the grace and the mercy that He willingly gave by His blood. I understood then, reading through this book with friends, and coming to tears at the awe and respect that I then had for my Savior. It was life changing. I understood what it meant to be a follower rather than just a believer. You can believe that smoking is bad for you, and still smoke. Or you can follow that believe and pursue a healthy lifestyle.
But, as I said, passion was something hard for me, but change is even harder. Getting out of my comfort zone is about as foreign to me as ice is to a tiger in Africa. It is seriously a joke in my family. "Hey, we should move!" "Nah, cause then Kaitland will freak out at the change." I mean, seriously. I have been trying to overcome this. Call me OCD, but having everything the same is my disorder. This Wednesday was one of those chances. Never did I think (really, seriously, in, like, a million years) that Pastor Chuck would call on me- newcomer, Kaitland Conley- to help co-lead the small groups on passion for Christ. Maybe I seemed calm as I accepted the task, but I was panicking a little. First of all, I had no voice, and second of all, I didn't really know these kids that well. How could I share with them about passion if they didn't know me or what I was like? It was hard, but me and Courtney were assigned to our awesome group, and we lead.
It. Was. Amazing. Just all the ideas that these youth had on what passion was and how we could apply it in our daily lives. Their thoughts on how we could receive passion and what made a passionate person stand out from an ordinary one. And it was something on that last point- what makes a passionate person stand out from an ordinary one- that caught my attention. Once I asked the question the answer that stood out the most was this- "A passionate person is someone who lives one life. They believe what they believe wherever they are and whoever they're with. They don't change who they are for the crowd they're with, they stand boldly in who they are." Oh. My. Goodness. Wisdom Alert!
I realized just how true this statement was, and it occurred to me, that there are three types of Christians. Silly as this may seem, I see it this way. There are Ostrich Christians, Giraffe Christians, and Chameleon Christians. Ostrich Christians are definitely Christians, but they are, in essence, ordinary. There are spurts in time when they hold their head high and run after their Savior, but when the doubt creeps in, they stick their head in the sand until the danger passes. There isn't anything wrong with that, they don't deny their faith, but they don't always proclaim it, either. They are ordinary.
Then, there are Giraffe Christians. Giraffe Christians are the ones that really stand out. They stand tall and proud all the time. They never hide their heads from whatever is opposing. They don't try to forget the fear that comes with faith. They are constantly reaching out, reaching for the best, reaching for the leaves at the tops of the trees (and not just because they can, but because that's where the best stuff is). They have passion.
And then there are Chameleon Christians. These I will touch on more than the other two, because I think these are the most common. These are the Christians that adapt to their surroundings. At school they talk slang and dress like everyone else, when at church they're talking Jesus and wearing their nicer clothes. They are good with the good crowd and bad with the bad crowd. We can't be like this. When we choose Jesus we are declaring that we are laying down everything on this earth to follow Him. Everything. Nothing comes before His majesty. Nothing is more important to us than Jesus. Jesus is the only thing that lasts. Really. He is the only friend that goes with you after this life, that stands by you in every trial, who never leaves you, never breaks your heart, never leads you into bad situations. More than that, Jesus is the only thing that saves. The only thing. Those friends you're so afraid to lose can drag you to Hell with them, but they can't save you. Only Jesus can. Only the Cross. It is the one dependable thing in this life. The one rock that never tumbles, the only ground upon which you can stand solidly. Never forget this. Never adapt. Always stand by Jesus' side as He will always stand by yours. That is what passion is. It's choosing to never forget, always share, and forever remember what one man- one perfect, blameless, loving man- did for you, and always trying to share that love.
So, now that I have shared that thought, I'd like to have a little celebration, because, thanks to the same Jesus who never leaves me, I'm finally able to sit down and write something. I have been so blocked these last six months and it's nearly killed me. I haven't been able to express the things inside, and I finally have the words to do it, all thanks to some youth who get it. Some youth who have the same passion I always want to have. Yayyyy! ;) Hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!