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Empassioned

A Teenage Christian who is Looking to turn Passion into Action

Dear Freshman: 9 Real-Life Tidbits of Advice + A High School Heart-to-Heart from Me to You [VIDEO]

Good evening, Sunshine! 

First off, this was scary for me to do.

I decided to shake it up this time around and make a video, which is so much more personal than sitting behind a computer screen with my fingers to a keyboard. That’s the way I wanted it. I can’t have this chat face-to-face with everyone I wanted to, so I think this is the next best step.

My editing/filming/speaking skills are not perfect, I know, but I hope my messages are solid. High school can be such a scary thing to dive into, and as I begin my senior year, I wanted to offer the biggest lessons I’ve learned. The topic is near and dear to my heart, so more than any other post, I ask you to please share this and spread it around.

Without further delay, here goes. Enjoy. I believe in you.

If you liked the style of this post (i.e. a video+ written introduction) let me know. Young ladies, if you have any other questions/comments/concerns you want to talk about, comment, okay?

Let’s spark a huge discussion and wave of support for each other.

God bless you, student.

All My Love,

Marina xoxox

I Will Be Like You: A Poem

I see that you walk with grace, and

I have observed that you are beautiful, and

You don’t know me, but I know you 

because I have a careful eye for carefree people. 

 You move smoothly, you dress coherently, you are slender.

 Even the way you blink is perfect, with eyelashes that could conjure up a breeze. 

So, I think I will be like you. 

I will walk like you, talk like you, even use your phrases. 

I will become your carbon copy, because I see 

that you are everything I think I want to look like…to be. 

Now, we have never spoken about politics,

 religion, 

morals 

or even the weather. 

No, we have never truly spoken at all, for I am a wallflower here. 

But your exterior is perfect, so I assume your mind is too. 

I assume, by your air of confidence and preparedness, that you have your life in order. 

Maybe in neat little boxes.

 You must dot your eyes with hearts, and write with fountain pens. So, I think I will do that too. 

I will become your carbon copy, because I see 

that you are everything I think I want to look like…to be

I am not you, and I know that. 

So, I will put my spin on your curlsmy jewelry on your clothing, 

your clothing on my shape,

my accent on your words. 

Yet, I am still emulating you.

I am buried, and who I am got lost in who I perceive you to be. 

Still, being consious of this, my mind continues to repeat:

I will become your carbon copy, because I see 

that you are everything I think I want to look like, to be.”

– – – – 

Copyright 2015, all rights reserved

Fight or Flight

I feel like I’ve been living life on fast-forward lately. I’m sure you’ve gone through stages like this too.

These next few months will be ushering a lot of change for me. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.

My schooling is going to change. Situations in my private life are developing. I’ve made new friendships and mended old ones.  I hope to learn to drive a car and earn my license. I need to get a job. It’s time to start thinking about what I want after high school. University? College? Both?

Now, when faced with change, we all have one of two gut-instinct reactions: fight, or flight. I’d love to tell you that I’m a fighter. A glamorous warrior princess with a six pack and a go-getter attitude. Mmm, not so much. Naturally, I’m a FLIGHT-ER. I was telling my mom the other day: I shut down when I’m freaked out or faced with the need to work hard. From little stuff to big stuff, I just shut down.

In big things, the shutting down takes place in the form of laziness. Really awful laziness, I am ashamed to admit (#internetconfession). I suddenly feel too “tired” to work and convince myself to take unnecessary breaks because I’m so burnt out. In reality, I don’t have a stressful life at all, and saying I’m burnt out is just stupid.

Can you tell I’m ready to break this cycle yet?

I have friends who have lives so jam-packed, I’m in awe. I’m thinking of one friend in particular. I wonder if she’ll see this and know I’m talking about her (Shout out to you girl, you’re my work-ethic idol).

She is ridiculous…I don’t know how she gets everything done. It’s definitely inspirational.

She gets incredible grades all the time, has a part time job (or two, I don’t know if she gets paid for all of the math tutoring), and knows like sixteen different languages. She’s active in her ministry, and comes to church every weekend. Still, she’ll laugh at herself and tell us she has too much time on her hands. Oh, and she draws.

Sometimes, we’ll all be sitting around talking about how our weeks were. She’ll casually mention all of the things she has gotten done, like it’s no big deal. “Wow, this girl is a fighter“, I think to myself. “I don’t think there’s a procrastinating bone in her body. How does she do it all? I would crack under the pressure of two of those things!” Her diligence makes me re-evaluate my own habits. It’s not just just her though. I know so many people who really kick their butts every single day to achieve their dreams. They want something, and they just go for it. How? How do you just do stuff? I give into my laziness a lot, and to be honest, I’m sick and tired of it!

 I guess the point of this is just to throw a rhetorical question out into cyberspace. How does a flight-er become a fighter? Maybe your battle is with laziness too. Hopefully I’m not the only one who struggles every single day with wanting to do nothing.

Perhaps it’s a matter of pushing myself. I don’t know. I’ve tried the “tough love” approach before. I make myself get up early, push through the sleepiness, turn up my coffee mug (that’s the only “turning up” I do, thank you very much) and power through the day. It feels great at the end of the day to have worked hard. It’s probably the best feeling ever, actually.

Yet, in the past, I’ve only been able to truly work hard for about two weeks. Then, I hit a wall and have a really crappy month that sets back all the hard work I did.

With all of the aforementioned changes coming up, I want to do something to change the laziness. Lately, God’s been throwing the need to achieve at me. The deep desire to have accomplishments. It’s tiring to be stagnant, truly. My body and my mind are weary of it. The sitting and being sad that I don’t have much to show. It’s a stirring, I think. A little ache deep in my heart for something better than what I’ve been doing. It seems that good habits spurn more good habits, and laziness just breeds more sloth.

Oh, by the way, I would like to make one thing clear. I am not posting this in an attempt to fish for compliments. Please, if you know me personally, don’t feel like I need to be encouraged or reminded of past achievements. Seriously, it’s not what I’m after. I think I’m writing and posting this as a method of accountability and frankness for myself. Things on the internet don’t go away, and everyone who sees this will know my dirty secrets about laziness. Therefore, I will have no choice but to improve. Also, I’m posting this to let you guys know that someone in the world is struggling with this too. Don’t feel down if you’re like me in this regard, it’s very difficult to break lazy routines. It just is.

So, where does the jump-start come from? Where does that kick in the butt come from? The internal energy that overpowers the inclination to be lazy. Where, eh? I guess it’s something to pray for. In the end, everything is something to pray for. Does that make sense?

Ahh, I actually feel a lot better about this. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go do something.

Oh hey Internet, I’m back! (My Two Excuses)

Geez goodness oh my.

It has been quite a while since I’ve been on Empassioned, world! This micro-post is to inform the lovely readers that I am back after an extended hiatus. A few people asked me where I had been, and I have to be honest here, I don’t have an excuse.

Okay, well maybe I have two excuses…

Marina’s Two Excuses for a Lack of Content on This Here Blog:

1.)Lack of inspiration

There were many-a-day where I really wanted to put something out here; to say something inspirational and worthy of your approval. However, I concluded that it was better for me to not post at all than to put a bunch of cliches together and call it a post. I don’t like reading them, so I guessed you wouldn’t want to read it either.

2.) I thought I was too busy. Really, I felt swamped.

You know when you think every moment of your life is full with very important things to do, but it turns out you were just wasting a lot of time? Yeah, welcome to the last few months of Marina’s world. I mean, there has been a lot of other things going on, but I guess it was my brain that just felt busy all the time.

Anyway, so that’s where I’ve been. I haven’t given up on this blog, and I still think God could do big things with it. However, I hope to upload more and more in the coming months. I just need to get my creative juices flowing, ya know?

Well, uh….bye I guess. (Man, I’m so off my blog game, I don’t even know how to end this. Awks in a box)

A Pajama Party Changed My Point of View

“What if we’re the only ones that show up in our pyjamas?!”

Mary laughed as she merged onto the highway. “I don’t know!! I have this irrational fear that everyone else is going to come in normal clothes.”

“We’re so stupid!” We glanced at each other and laughed again, anxiously.

Luckily, most of the others came to the Highschool Girls’ Night in their sweats or “jammies”. It was hilarious to see each of us nervously walk into the room, look at everyone’s clothes, and let out a sigh of relief.

Every once in a while, my church councillors host youth group at someone’s house, separating the guys and girls. For the longest time, I was frustrated by the separation because it often meant that the girls talked about dating. Or abstinence. Or chastity. We came, leaned back in the plush couches of so-and-so’s basement, and listened to a talk about why relationships in high school kind of suck.

This time, however, the girls walked through the door cautiously optimistic and very, very giggly.  The week before, a flurry of texts were sent between us, asking if what we heard about the event was too good to be true. Could we REALLY wear our pyjamas? Should we wear our cute PJs or the ugly ones that you actually sleep in? NO WAY, we’re going to paint our nails? I HOPE THERE’S SNACK FOOD!

Besides the rumours of awesome food and girly stuff, a number of us were ecstatic about the topic of conversation: how to dress modestly. Now wait, I know what you’re thinking. WHY would I be excited to talk about covering up? That seems like a lecture waiting to happen. Allow me to explain.

In July, the youth group took a trip to the best city in the entire continent of North America: Chicago, Illinois! (I bet you couldn’t tell that Chi-town is my hometown.) Each room at the hotel consisted of four kids and a councillor, and I was really excited about my room. I had the councillor I hoped for and a group of girls I adored. As the trip progressed, I noticed that every single morning as we were getting dressed, a similar set of questions flew around.

“Are my shorts too short?”

“Do you think this sleeve is okay?”

“Man! I hate this shirt. It ALWAYS needs a tank top underneath.”

“Should I wear a cardigan over this, or naw?”

It was a daily battle. We struggled to alter our clothing so that we weren’t pushing the limits. Yet, no one wanted to be the dreaded f-word: frumpy. No one wanted to fit the stereotypical “modest church girl” description. I mean, ew. 

One day, we were late for breakfast (okay, that happened every day) because I had changed my outfit like seven times. One of us sighed…it was probably me. “I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find cute clothes that aren’t, you know, trashy! I go to the store and see two choices: I have to dress like I’m in the Arctic or walk out the door in my underwear! It’s really annoying.” Our councillor looked at me and said “You know, you can find clothes that are really cute yet still appropriate.” I internally laughed. Yea, right!

“No really,” she said, “look at my shorts. I got these for four bucks!” Her shorts were really cute. It was the denim kind, yet I was surprised to note they stopped a few inches above the knee. “You just have to go to the right places. It really does take a lot more discipline and work to find stuff like this. It’s not impossible, just hard.”

I went through the rest of the trip very conscious of my clothes. It irked me that all of my “cute-conservative” clothes were only conservative because they were three sizes too big for me. That way, they were long enough and loose enough. But, I still had to do a lot of maintenance to make them fit kind of well. What was I supposed to do? Wear a burlap sack outside? Oh wait, it would probably be too short or something.

The conundrum of modesty stuck with me for the remainder of the Chicago trip, and it followed me home. I think it followed all of my group home, because when topics for the Girls’ Night were requested, we all went “MODESTY!!”. So when we were finally sitting down in our PJs at the event, I was very excited to see what I could clarify. I realized that I didn’t know where to turn for standards on how to dress. It all seemed so subjective. After all, what is considered modest in North American culture could be considered disgraceful in other countries. Even as I analyzed my own experiences, I realized that I had been exposed to several definitions of modesty. Those definitions are heavily influenced by cultural norms. Many times, all I thought I had to do to appear more conservatively dressed was show less skin than the girl to my right. I now feel uneasy about making that my guideline.

Back to the girls’ night.  I leaned back in my chair with my Bible and a fistful of snack mix as I listened to the start of the discussion. I remember feeling a very specific vibe in the room that night. I seemed like all of the girls felt the same way I did: frustrated. After all, we’re just trying to be good, pure, noble, honourable women of God. The fashion industry has made life very difficult for young women in our shoes. If we want to feel fashionably relevant and well, cute, we have to sacrifice our morals and standards. How can I devise a set of standards regarding clothes when I feel as though I have no alternative to immodesty? Since God has placed the idea of modesty on my heart, it takes me half an hour to pick out an outfit every morning. Why is that? I look through my clothes, think “Hey, that might be really nice!” I put together an ensemble in my head, piece by piece. A necklace to bring out the colour of my shirt. Dark-wash denim jeans to give it the right vibe. Then, I put it on.

Here's the lovely ladies who came to that incredible Girls' Night. May God bless their hard work. :)
Here’s the lovely ladies who came to that incredible Girls’ Night. May God bless their hard work. 🙂

“UGH.” Once again, the picture I had in my head doesn’t translate successfully into real life. Fabric pulls where it shouldn’t and rides up where I don’t want it to. Why? Because my clothes were designed to show more skin than I am willing to show. That is what I have concluded after many years of dressing myself. There are many fashion trends I wish I could rock. Yet, when worn in the intended context, the clothes are overwhelmingly revealing.

This post is inconclusive. I can’t end with a warm and fuzzy phrase about how I discovered a solution because I haven’t. If, one day, I do find a way to honour God with my clothing and still express myself, I will be shouting it from the rooftops! Until then, I am left with the day by day struggle that many other Christian women on this continent face. How do we strike a balance? There must be one. After all, I believe that my clothing should be fashionably relevant while still being appropriate. It’s an idea I have received from my mother. Many times, she has told me something along these lines: “When I walk out into the world, I am a representative of Christianity. I want to be modest, of course. I believe that I still need to use my clothes to show that I know what’s going on in the world, though. Why? Because otherwise, people will look at me and make the assumption that Christians have to be totally detached from society, which is false.”

Very wise of you, mother. I am a priest’s daughter who worships at church every Sunday. Yet, I watch tons of Youtube and I know many lines from Mean Girls (“Oh my gosh, Karen. You can’t just ask people why they’re white”). I firmly believe that the Bible is the true word of God, and I still get really excited when I see patent leather pumps on sale. I want my clothing to reflect both of those sides of me. Yes, being a teenage Christian may have a certain stereotype, but I can tell you it’s not true. We don’t all have long, flowy hair and wear long, flowy skirts. (Okay, so I do have long flowy hair, and I can’t resist a maxi skirt…still, hopefully you see my point.)

In my search for the wellspring of fashion know-how, all I have learned so far is that the key is balance. A balance between modern and classic. A balance between modest and relevant. A balance between caring about my appearance and obsessing over it. God is beginning to let His standards for me fall to Earth in little clues, like bread crumbs behind Hansel and Gretel. One day, I will know why this has been laid so heavily on my heart. Until then, I plan to keep you updated on the war against my closet.

After all, you’re probably fighting it too, soldier.

Mix It All Together, and You Know You’ve Got the Best of Both Worlds

The glory of the pyramids meshing with the fire and spirit of Lady Liberty.

Hot dogs and hummus.

Pita and potato chips.

Fine dirt and rich farming soil.

Egyptian linens and 4th of July t-shirts.

It seems almost impossible for a culture so rich in history to join hand in hand with the fierce patriotism of the United States of America. Yet, that is exactly what happened the day my parents got married.

You see, I am mixed race. My mother is as American as apple pie (with ancestors immigrating on the Mayflower), and my father is a Canadian-born Egyptian. I am the eldest child in our family, and I look the most “mixed” out of my two siblings. When I was young, I didn’t like being multi-racial because I felt like I never had a place. At church,  we were the only ones -and I mean the ONLY ones- who didn’t know a word of Arabic. At my 95% white school, I was the exotic kid with the weird name and the “EEE-jehp-shun” daddy. My brother and I had rehearsed answers to the bizarre things people from both communities said to us.

“Oh my GAWSH! You’re Egyptian! That’s so cool. Were your ancestors pharaohs?”

“You’re only half Egyptian? Oh, so you’re not really Egyptian.”

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T SPEAK ARABIC?! Zis is not good, ya Marina. We will make you a rreeall  Egyptian and teach you za language of your forefazers!”

*Walks into parent-teacher conference with Mom*

“Hi there! Oh, you’re Marina’s  mom? Isn’t that nice…I’m guessing she looks more like her father?”

The list could go on and on. After a while, I got used to it. I still get those questions, but I try my best to refrain from being sarcastic or snarky when answering. After all, there are no malicious intentions. People are just curious, which leads me to the many plus sides of being a mixed kid.

I have an awesome family tree. Ask me about my background, and I would ask you which one you want to know about first. Do you want to hear about my great grandpa Elmer? I could tell you about how he lived to his nineties making his living as a farmer in Nebraska. I could tell you about how he always wore denim overalls and rubber boots. He said “Yes sir”, and “By Golly!” as he chewed on straw. If you imagined the picture perfect example of a Midwestern farmer, you would have imagined great-grandpa.

Oh, did you want to know about my Egyptian side? I can talk about that too. I’d love to tell you about my Gido. I could tell you how he left Egypt as a teen for Austria to attend medical school. After that, he went to Germany, then Canada, then St. Louis and Chicago. Along the way, he married my Teta (grandmother) and had my dad and aunt Eva. In the office, he was the stern business man who wanted good work done right. At home, he was the grandpa that would never say no, ever. 

Recently, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see both sides of the family. It’s reminded me of the beautiful and very obvious differences between the Egyptian and American sides. The best example of this is found in my grandmothers, who are more opposite than night and day. Teta is the picture of an Egyptian grandmother: she’s petite, always clad in suits, and is insistent that her grandchildren act like proper ladies and gentlemen. Grandma is a wellspring of factoids and trivia: whether she is telling you about her favorite vitamins, or quizzing you on these fifty-nifty United States, she always has something fascinating to say.

Being around both of them has taught me something very valuable about myself. It’s a realization I’m surprised I haven’t had before. As I looked at myself in Grandma’s bathroom mirror a few days ago, I noticed that the person staring back at me was a complete blend of my grandmothers. I saw my Teta’s nose and hair color. I saw Grandma’s hands and fingers.

Then, I hopped into the shower. As I tried not to get shampoo in my eyes (it happens way too often…ugh), I thought about my personality. I have inherited my Teta’s sense of caution and concern. My love of music and my creativity come from Grandma. I love girly things like perfume, makeup and nail polish. Teta and I bond over that all the time. I’ve always been a dreamer and a romantic, something that is reinforced when I’m with Grandma. She loves all things Disney! Both women love to laugh, though their senses of humor are totally different. Mine is somewhere in the middle: sarcastic and teasing, yet blunt and to-the-point.

As I examined myself, I saw how skillfully God meshed both cultures, both women, together to create me. The differences found in my two sides of family came together under God’s supervision to make something new. I know that if you look at yourself, you’ll see the same. Do you have your father’s eyelashes? Do your lips look like your mom’s? It could be something subtle. My cousin Julie and I have the same freckle on our pinkie toe!  What has God passed down to you?

Our bloodlines don’t just run though our veins. They’re in the way we walk and in our opinions. The way you smile and your laugh are beautiful combinations of your family tree. I used to be frustrated by my confusing background, but I’m grateful for it now.

When God knits us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), I imagine Him double strand knitting. That’s when you take two different kinds of yarn and hold them together between your fingers as if they were one piece. Then, the two yarns are intertwined throughout your work, making for a colorful and interesting finished product (P.S., Grandma taught me to knit! :D). I feel like that image is a perfect analogy for the way God has created you and me. Taking two different dynasties, He selected certain traits that He’s masterfully combined to make you. When you see yourself, I hope you can spot those traits. It was so fulfilling for me to experience, and I’m glad God opened my eyes to it. See, I spent many years being frustrated by the things that God used to define me. Reader, maybe you’ve fought that battle before. Give this a shot: the next time you’re in front of a mirror, take five minutes to really study yourself. Look at the planes of your face, and think of your family. I bet God will show you how fearfully and wonderfully made you really are (Psalm 139:14). After all, you are God’s work of art. You’re a true masterpiece.

I think that’s pretty amazing.

#TheAdorableOriginalSquirrels

I hereby admit that I have been a hypocrite.

That last sentence rhymed. Heehee. Anyway…

That’s right, open confessions on this blog. A month ago, I was a hypocrite.

You must be able to tell that I am very passionate about the limitations our culture imposes on kids and youth. After all, this blog is all about tearing down that irritating standard. Yet, I am guilty of assuming that kids have no interest in important things.

You see, a month ago, I was planning out a Bible study lesson plan for my church’s two week summer camp. We had already decided as a team of councilors that we were going to scrap the original lesson plan because it was too watered down. Of course, I was all gung-ho about giving the councilors my society-oppression-children-rock speech: “You know, this is ridiculous! Kids are capable of so much more than this lesson plan is allowing. At this age [I was planning the fifth and sixth grade Bible study], they’re ready to digest some really serious stuff. We need to give the campers a Bible study that will really challenge them to reevaluate their relationships with God!” Blah blah blah blah yuckety-yuck yuck.

So, we started from the ground up. I was going to plan out their new Bible study, aiming to make it challenging yet still interactive.

Camp started, and I was very nervous on our first day. I mean, thank God, I knew all but one of my group members pretty well. As we got to know each other a little better during the first Bible study session, we chose our group name as we decorated our “get-to-know-me” profiles. In the end, we settled on #TheAdorableOriginalSquirrels…yep, that’s what we went with. Some wanted the Originals, and some wanted the Squirrels. I suppose this was the compromise! It still makes me laugh.

While we were chatting that first day, I was attempting to see who I was working with. Would they open up to me or shut down all together? After all, confronting them with the topic of salvation and the importance of a two-way relationship with God was pretty intense for them to digest, right? Looking back, I think making that assumption was my first mistake.

Thankfully, I felt like the first week went alright. Not stellar, but alright. They answered my questions when I looked them in the eye, and participated in the activities when I handed them paper and glue sticks. Still, I left the small school we rented for camp slightly dejected. I wasn’t getting the outward spark I had hoped for. I guessed that since I couldn’t SEE a drastic change in their faces, there was none. Strike two on my part.

It was the second week that blew my mind. The following Monday, we used what we had talked about in week one and put it into application by doing a practice Quiet Time. Using  what I call the “quiet time formula” and a guide to Bible reading, we dispersed throughout our classroom. The passage we all read was 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, commonly called the Love Chapter. I asked periodically who needed more time to read their Bible and meditate, and every single time, hands went up. I had concluded the night before they would be done as soon as they could be, with as little effort as possible. After half an hour, we needed to move on, and I had to ask two kids to finish their Bible reflections at home.

As we gathered around the desks, I peeked at their papers. I was shocked to see that every single person had completely filled up their pages with their thoughts, and handwriting was spilling outside the lines and onto the margins. As we talked about how they felt when reading the passage, the things coming out of their mouths shocked me even more. The wisdom and insight they got from a very common passage was incredible. They spoke about loving their enemies even though it was hard, and how God’s love and justice would never give up on them. These were thoughts I assumed to be well beyond their years.

This trend continued throughout the rest of the week at camp. Every day, I walked out of our classroom floored by my own ignorance. I had come to camp with a fistful of paper, ready to convince them that they needed Jesus. But they already knew that. These fifth and sixth grade preteens were so ready to soak up knowledge and to speak their minds. I just didn’t give them the opportunity, then assumed they weren’t ready. It showed me that with all of my talk about empowering young minds, I had a lot to learn. God showed me that He has bigger plans for my Squirrels than anyone could imagine.

On the last day of camp, I received a text from a friend who’s younger sibling was in #TheAdorableOriginalSquirrels. As I read it, my jaw dropped, followed by a huge smile that spread across my face. “Thank you guys so much for all your work on the Bible study! [Name] was just telling me how happy he was with the Bible study, and he said it helped him a lot in his relationship with God!”

I will once again say, shame on me. I interpreted quiet listening as a lack of depth or willingness to speak. I wanted to teach, but it was my new friends who taught me. That sounds cliche, I know. How VERY cheesy! I mean it though, really. I pray that God will open my eyes when I see someone younger than me. I hope that next year, I come to camp with an open heart, ready to learn.

Next year, I’m leaving my fistful of papers at home.

Empassioned: The blend between empowerment and passion

“Empassioned is not a word. It actually is spelled impassioned. With an ‘i’.” 

If you looked at the name of this website and thought that, I pass no judgement. I too would have been irritated or confused by a clear misspelling of the word. However, there’s a method to this madness.

You see, as I was trying to come up with a jazzy and original name for this little blog, I was stumped by the balance I needed: creative, but not cheesy. Things like marina’scornucopiaofknowledge.com kept rolling off of my tongue….I wanted to punch myself in the face! Why is it so hard to think of a catchy name that doesn’t sound like it’s trying too hard to be cool? 

“Okay, Marina. Calm down. All you wanted was a place to let your thoughts out honestly. Stop trying to be fantastic and take the attention off of the bells and whistles. What do you want to say to the world?” 

I asked myself that fair question. After all, I could have the coolest sounding name in history, but if I was publishing nonsense with no substance, what was the point? There are many other creative people with creative sounding blogs. I want to do something else.

Here is what I have to bring to the table: the idea that God has placed passions inside of us. Be it a passion for social justice, music, changing society’s view of adolescents, or anything else  on God’s green Earth! God planted certain interests and needs inside of us that He wants us to use for His glory. Every single God-given passion in every single person is important and must be taken seriously. Personally, I am tired of seeing beautiful ideas blossoming inside of my peers that are only  shut down by their own minds or outside forces. 

“Maybe when you’re older.” 

“Yes, great idea! Let’s have [insert the name of someone four times your age] take care of that.” 

“It might be difficult for you to do that at this time. You don’t yet have the life experiences necessary to get it done.”

Now, at the risk of sounding like an angry teenager needing to rant (Okay, that’s exactly what I just did, but I’m coming to my point), I must say I understand that not all of my ideas are stellar and need to be put in place. I can respect the answer “No”. What I’m talking about is not when  something stupid or inappropriate is asked for. Nuh-uh, I mean when an idea is a good idea. Then, the good idea is automatically dismissed because the person suggesting it is younger than age. 

The theme I want to set aflame among my community is this: it doesn’t matter how old you are. You could be nine or seventy-seven. God has empowered YOU as His child, and He wants YOU to set His ideas into motion. Your passions may turn into thoughts, as mine often have. The mistake I always make is thinking, “Meh, I’ll do it another time.” There’s also “Yea, it’s a good idea, but who would take me seriously? I’m at the bottom of the food chain.” I feel God calling me to take it a step further and turn my ideas into ACTION. 

My friend, that is the point of this blog. Blending the passions in my heart with the empowerment God has given me as His daughter. I don’t have my purpose all figured out. I don’t even know what I’m going to study in university, man! Yet, God keeps bringing to light this one flame that flares up inside of me: He has given me (and YOU) power to do great things, and I don’t want to waste that opportunity anymore.  

In Luke 10:19, God says: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” [KJV, emphasis added.] That’s a pretty clear statement, and it comforted me as I typed it out just now. There’s also the famous Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [NKJV]  Lastly, a convincing personal fave of mine, 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” [NLT]

As we go through this journey together, you and me, I hope we can keep each other accountable. The time for pushing ideas aside because we’re young is over. Have you heard the saying “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called”? Well, it’s all over Facebook if you haven’t seen it before. To me, it means that I need to respond to God’s calling first, and He’ll help me along the way. I believe that God will reward my obedience, and therefore qualify me so I can obey.

So, will you take the plunge with me? I’m pretty scared. After all, when I press the “publish” button, the whole world will be able to tell me to put my money where my mouth is! Maybe we can do it as a team, one step at a time. 

Here goes step one. ANNNNNNNNND, publish! 

I am not wise…yet.

I have no great wisdom to be shared, and I’m finding out minute by minute what I have to say, just as you are. Therefore, I think full disclosure is only fair: I’m using this blog as a way for God to mold me into someone. This is not a place for me to share a great revelation I’ve had or anything like that. I haven’t done anything impressive to change the world, but I WANT to!

I’m just a typical sort of teenage girl: I play guitar and sing, I have lots of opinions that I should sometimes keep to myself, and I struggle with winging out my eyeliner every single day. Now, I don’t intend to tell the world my life story in blog post numero uno, but I’m attempting to set the scene: normality.

Starting up a blog was nibbling at the back of my mind for several months, but I finally did it on a whim. Waking up two days ago, it was clear to me that THIS was the day I would take a step of faith onto the internet, hoping that God would use my big mouth to start something big. Who knows? We could truly do something here. I feel as though the tables are turning.

Perhaps a community of young people with a dream for change can rise up together on this small corner of cyberspace and learn how to turn passion into action.  I hope and pray that we can do this together, internet. Welcome to the beginning of the beginning. 

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