I’m a people person, I love traveling and hearing people’s stories wherever I am. I love experiencing different cultures and seeing new parts of this beautiful, yet crazy world we live in. And it is from all of that from which my songs are inspired from. So… naturally lining up with my character, this last fall I grabbed by backpack and traveled across Europe. My eyes have really been opened in the last while to how EVERYWHERE we are there are opportunities to love the people around us.
I see so many people just “coasting” through their lives, second guessing their beliefs, and giving into the lies that they aren’t good to make an impact within our society. I can’t help but ask WHY??? How can we CHANGE that??? I think too often we have the tendency to get caught up in ourselves. Thinking about what we can GET out of something, rather than how we can be PART of and GIVE to something or someone. Why are we so scared to be uncomfortable? Why are we so scared to be REAL? I know I myself, have been guilty of that.
Keeping those thoughts in mind, back to Europe… Many people have asked me whether my time there was for “vacation” or “ministry”. Whenever I hear that question I can’t say it was one over the other because I really believe it was both. Why? Because I believe we should be looking for ways to be real & genuine, showing love through our words & actions wherever we are. In being willing to be uncomfortable, some pretty cool doors can be opened. One of the biggest, yet simplest ways I saw this throughout my entire trip was by asking complete strangers what their stories are, listening & showing interest, and being willing to share mine. Conversation. It has the potential to impact someone’s life in remarkable ways… and we have these opportunities right in front of our eyes daily. At work, at a restaurant or café, at the grocery store, gas station… the list goes on!
Even though I traveled all over, I’m going to focus on Amsterdam. When I tell people Amsterdam was one of my favorite places during my travels, if they don’t know me well the typical response is “well of course it was!” (in their head thinking about all the legal things you can do there such as the drug use and prostitution). The reason it stood out to me was nowhere near what they were thinking, but rather the opposite. Amsterdam is artsy with loads of character, and a lot of NEED. My heart broke there. I had the opportunity to play at an open mic, sharing words of hope through my songwriting on the outskirts of the Red Light District. Walking back to my hostel I witnessed some of the many young women selling their bodies in the glass booths. A modern day slavery. It made me sick. I’m sure many of them feel there is no escape. The creator values those women as much as anyone else and I wish they could begin to know and find how much beauty, worth, and purpose they each have.
Within all the darkness, I also saw HOPE. I had an intense conversation with a young woman named Karen about identity, satisfaction, and purpose. We chatted about the constant seeking of worth, and the emptiness in living for self. She shared her personal experience in seeking for peace of mind through her social & love life, and substance addictions always coming up dry. While living in a world where it’s unnatural to seek out ways to serve our peers needs above our own, I believe there will be a harvest of hope, joy, and worth in doing so. And while the injustice or despair seems unchangeable individually, there are many people & organizations already breaking into worldly issues such as poverty, slavery, abortion etc. which we can partner with or support the work that’s already happening! The organization, “Not for Sale” is one of these, http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/ breaking into these women’s lives such as those in Amsterdam. Making a stand against injustice such as prostitution- modern day slavery.
THERE IS CONNECTION WITH PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. We all long for the very things Karen is longing for.
How can YOU strive to live out your life in a real, genuine, and active way?
-Pray. Prayer has a bigger impact then we often realize.
-Educate yourself. Know what you stand for and why.
-Awareness. Raise awareness to your peers and how they can do the same.
-Donate. There are many organizations already doing awesome stuff but they need the support and finances to keep doing so!
-Creativity!! Use your gifts and passions to get involved in making a difference! Could be through your career or even simple things such as music, art, conversations, baking, etc. We can use all these things to make an impact!
Let’s be willing to get our hands a little dirty!