Hey everyone! I am back from my little writing hiatus after a full summer and many adventures which I am excited to share. It has been a whirlwind this past couple of months but the Lord has been faithful and continues to challenge and mold me.

You could say I am sort of the oddball…well at least within the community which I live. I have let myself believe that my unique passions and characteristics continue to drive me further from those relationships I long to have. Rooted in a heart of envy and I desire for acceptance, I tell myself the lie that “if only I was more like her than they would love me.” Yet, I am here to say that some of my greatest joys have come from my whole-hearted pursuit of what I am passionate about.

Let me introduce you to little ‘ol me. I absolutely love horses, from a long hard day in the barn to simply watching them move across an arena. There will forever be that little horse-crazy girl inside of me. I love the piano, playing volleyball and exploring any new trail I can find. And as I am sure you know by now–I love to write.

I have always been more introverted and could spend hours working on one of my hobbies. Throughout high school and during my gap-year I was surrounded by individuals who shared my interests. This is something I took for granted and I think also attributes to the large percentage of adults who quit hobbies or sports coming out of high-school or college. We all want to feel accepted, even if that means giving up something we love.

Over the past couple of years, I have been tempted to give up on my passions and hobbies to try and “fit” into the norm of our community. It can be discouraging to have so much joy and excitement in your heart about various passions with no one to share them with. This year I have learned to embrace my quirks and what a joy it has been.

I made the decision at the beginning of this year that I would pursue my passions and rely on God to fill the relational hole I felt. This year I did two big things….and just let me say how thankful I am for those two moments of courage I had when I pressed “buy” on those tickets. The first was Proverbs 31 Ministry’s SpeaksSpeaks conference and the second was the World Equestrian Games. Opposite sides of the spectrum I know, but like I said I am an oddball like that.

While I knew that this conference was going to be amazing, it was not an easy road getting there. The courage you feel when you are simply registering online quickly escapes you when you wake up a 5am after a long week to attend a sold-out conference. Eight-hundred women leaders in one room can be enough to make an introvert like myself run. Yet, through many beautiful interactions, the Lord brought me into that community and surrounded me with women who poured into me and challenged me to pursue this dream of writing. That was in July and I still get emails from those ladies encouraging and challenging me as we move forward.

This past month, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of attending the World Equestrian Games. Again, the Lord helped me overcome my hesitations and allowed me to interact with some pretty amazing folks. Riders and spectators from all over the world filled the stands. Each day as I hopped into the shuttle, found my seat in the arena or purchased an insanely overpriced item from the concession stand, I found it easier and easier to pick up a conversation. It felt like home, a place where people from different walks of life gathered because they knew what they loved and have taken the time to pursue it.

I know that this feeling of security and acceptance I felt at those two events is just a small taste of what real Christian community should be like. Sharing hobbies such as writing or horseback riding comes nowhere close to the bond we should have as believers. We are created for community, to build one another up, and to embrace the unique heart God has given each one of us.

Embracing who you are is so much more than simply following your dreams or pursuing your hobbies. It is all rooted in knowing who you are in Christ and walking in that beautiful security. The Lord has crafted me to love and seek to better understand His creation. Through my daily activities, I am learning how to embrace the gifts God has given me while continuing to keep my eyes open to those unique opportunities He places in my path.

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