Yesterday, I did my annual “reflecting” on the past year. I found an old (way back from 2013) set of questions online. One of the questions keeps haunting me:
When did you feel most alive last year?
It took me all of 1.3 seconds to answer the question. I felt most alive in Bangalore, India in February. I had spent the day with a new friend, Usha, documenting her life (photographically). We had just hopped on her scooter to head back to her job at Daughters of Hope (who I had flown to India to work with that week) and were flying through the streets of Bangalore. Even now, I can feel the wind through my hair (no helmut, bad Chelsea, I know), and I remember telling my husband that night, via Skype, “I felt like I was operating at FULL capacity today, operating on all cylinders.” This was significant, because I hadn’t felt that way in almost a decade. I told him, “THIS, this is what I was created to do… working overseas with vulnerable populations telling stories of hope and dignity through my camera.” I was engaging the 4 most driving passions I had: travel, cross-cultural exchange, photography and social justice. And I loved every.single.second.of it.
I have a friend who is the most creative person I know. Not random creative, breathtaking creative. She and her husband are building out a “dream home” piece by salvaged piece. When I see pictures of how she is reusing salvaged wood, iron, fans, lights, tin, etc. my jaw hits the floor. It is literally something out of the most chic, modern, stylish home design magazine and she does it with a budget close to $0. When I see her photos, I think of Eric Liddel’s quote,
“When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”
Eric Liddel, of Chariots of Fire fame, felt the most alive, and most connected to his creator when he was doing what he loved the very most. Running. He was created to run. Wired to run. And when he ran, he felt the smile of God.
How often do we sabotage ourselves, thinking “I need to be more content with xyz. There is more to life than what I ‘want’ to do or enjoy doing.” We love designing, but hold ourselves back trying to get happier and more content with cooking because cooking is what our mothers or grandmothers were good at, or what our family enjoys most. So we cook more and design less because we think that is the “better,” more noble choice.
How selfish. Really. I mean it. If God, the creator of the universe and of me, wired me a certain way, for a specific cause, don’t you think He would want to see me DOING that very thing, living that very calling? Sure, not 100% of the time, but more time than not. And wouldn’t He want to see me experiencing the JOY and LIFE that activity was designed to give me? It’s a gift from Him. How selfish of me to not accept it and enjoy it freely and openly.
So, what about you? How are you wired? What do you love to do? Who were you made to be? When do you feel most alive? When do you feel God’s pleasure in your life?
These are important, life-giving questions. The more we press in to those parts of ourselves, the more we let go and move into our callings, our desires, our passions, the more pleasure we feel and I am convinced, the more pleasure God feels for us. He made you this way. Walk in it. Own it. Enjoy it. Use it.
Take a moment and answer this Eric Liddel inspired statement. And then find more time to pursue that part of you in 2015:
“When I ______________________, I feel God’s pleasure.”
Chelsea Hudson is a mother of three girls, wedding, portrait and humanitarian photographer, passionate abolitionist, and a ONE Mom. Her passion for justice and ending human trafficking led her to start the website Do a Little Good.