Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Making Things Happen

My junior year of college, I met a group of people that were doing something different. This group of people had become very interested in the concept of Christian Community, and as all were single, unattached college students, they decided to try an experiment of sorts where they practiced living in intentional community. The guys had one house and the girls had another location just a bit away. I visited both houses often and it was intriguing to see them striving together to live out this concept. I attended a small, conservative Christian college, and needless to say, the way this group was approaching living out their faith was very different from what I heard in Convocation, Sunday morning church, or even dorm ministry training. And, it was extremely refreshing. I remember one significant conversation I had with a member of this group, and I had almost forgotten all about it, until Monday.

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to attend Lara Casey's Making Things Happen intensive in Atlanta. This workshop was such an awesome experience, and I'll get to that more in a bit. But first, the workshop brought me back to the conversation I had with my college friend.

On that night so long ago, my junior year of college, I had been having a really bad day. I had recently been through a difficult breakup, and I was experiencing a lot of emotional turmoil and frustration.
This particular night, I just needed to get away, and when my friend invited me to make a Wal-mart run with him, I accepted, needing the opportunity to escape campus for a bit. (There wasn't an abundance of entertainment readily available in this small town, as evidenced by the fact that Wal-Mart was one of our main destinations...)Our drive took us to some beautiful rolling hills (my college was near the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains) and an amazing, starry night. It was not a romantic experience at all -- but just one of enjoying life and feeling alive. This friend asked me a question that night. A simple question, really, but one I hadn't really taken the time to think about in a while. He said, "What are you truly passionate about?"

I thought for a long time that night.

And I had to be honest with him. At that time in my life, I didn't really know. I didn't have an overwhelming passion that was driving me. I actually was experiencing quite a bit of apathy, and realizing that unnerved me. But, I did know, even though I couldn't identify my specific passion at that exact moment, that I wanted to live a life of significance, whatever that may have meant. I struggled with an idea I was having, and I tried to explain it to him. I said, "You know how you meet some people and you feel like they are just living on another plane of existence?" It sounds more philosophical than it really needs to, but what I was starting to wrap my head around was that some people seem to be living life in a deeper way than everybody else. They are truly living, rather than just surviving, or going through the motions. Many people get so caught up in the day to day, that they forget to really live. And I knew that I didn't want to be one of those people.

Fast Forward to Monday. Sitting in the intensive, surrounded by so many other creative, passionate people, I was reminded of that late night college conversation so many years ago. I met so many people who were truly "living on that other plane" -- living deeper lives. Lara Casey asked us a similar question to the one my friend had asked that night. She asked us, "What fires you up?" This time, I was able to answer. I still don't completely have my passions figured out, but I am striving for them, and one of the benefits of that workshop was meeting others who are also trying to live their best life. I realized again the value of surrounding myself with people who inspire -- people who ignite my passions. People who are living deeper lives.

One of the key words that emerged over and over again at the intensive was "authenticity." (Thanks, Emily Ley!) This post is a lot more personal than I usually get here on this blog, but I'm trying to do my part to be more authentic, to really show who I am, and to put myself out there.

I'm still beginning to process everything I thought about and learned on Monday, but these were some initial thoughts I just had to express. But there will be more posts like this to come, I'm sure, as I clarify my thoughts!

I guess the take-away from this post: for brides, for other business owners, for people in general. Try to identify your passion. Find what fires you up and strive for it. Surround yourself with people who will help you towards that, not drain you and suck you dry. And be that kind of person for others in their own journey. You'll enjoy the feeling of living life on a deeper level.