I love reading. I mean I really, really love reading. I think that if there was a contest for longest duration of laying in one spot reading, I could win it. I have more bookshelves in my house than any other kind of furniture and I have never passed up a book sale. I even work as a librarian, so my love of books is extensive. I always have some form of book on my person at all times, and I am not ashamed to say that I have cancelled many plans because I didn’t want to leave the book I was in. Reading is my escape time, my time to leave reality and watch other people deal with their crazy problems. Reading helps me see that maybe my problems are actually fixable, or at least not as daunting as trying to defeat a dark lord or traversing across unknown lands to destroy an all-powerful ring. I can go anywhere through the pages of literature, and my heart beats brighter through those off-white pages.

Not everyone is as crazy for fiction as I am, but we all do have our own unique loves and passions. I personally don’t understand scrapbooking, but others find their joy in cutting out tiny shapes from fancy paper. I also cannot fathom how people enjoy jumping from airplanes, but that is also a passion for some. When we find our passion, we spend our time and energy on it. I spend every spare penny I can buying new books. And almost all of my free time is dedicated to reading and more library time as I comb through hidden treasures. I cultivate this hobby, because I love it and it adds peace and joy to my life. What reading brings to my life is something that Jesus also wants to bring to our lives.

Jesus wants our lives to be full of joy and peace and passion. He wants us to live our lives to the fullest and with purpose. God did not create us to live monotonous lives based on an endless list of rules. He created us with passions, emotions, feelings, and the ability to dream. Too often, as women, we are condemned for our feelings, and told that we are “overly emotional.” What a crock! God created us with emotions and the desire to express our emotions! No gender is more emotional than the other nor should emotions negate the thoughts or ideas of any person. God finds delight in our emotions and in our passions because He created us to experience these things. God also delights when we find our passion in Him.

God wants us to be fully passionate in our relationship with Him. He wants us to devote our time and energy to engaging with Him and worshipping Him. Too often, the other tasks of life creep into that time and we neglect our relationship with Jesus for the millions of items on our to-do lists. I know I am guilty of this more often than not. 24 hours never seems like enough time to get everything done. How do I fit in two jobs, plus cooking, plus cleaning, plus sleep, plus friends and family, plus everything else that has to get done in one day and still make the necessary time to be with God? It’s not easy, but when we take what little time we have to seek after God passionately, at least for me, it adds peace to a chaotic life.

In my life, I have tried to combine my passion for reading with my relationship with Jesus. It’s not that I read for Jesus, but I decided to use my love of books and began working in our public library. It was supposed to be a temporary job, but five years later and here I am at my 4th library. I try to share my passion for Jesus with my co-workers wherever I am, and with my work-studies at my current job. When I worked for the public libraries, my co-workers never questioned if I was a Christian, but because of our mutual love and passion for reading, they began to open up to me and ask me questions about my faith. One woman even came to me when she thought she might lose her unborn child and asked for prayer. This was a really big deal because she was a vocal atheist and would always leave the room when someone brought up God or faith. Through my passion for books and reading, I have been able to interact and influence people who had completely written God off. People who felt betrayed by Christians who preach love and then demonstrate something very different in their everyday interactions. God has given me a passion and a love for words, and through that passion I am able to engage my other passion which is reaching the lost with the love of Jesus.

I would challenge all of you wonderful ladies to embrace your passions. 
Embrace your emotions. Never let anyone tell you that you are too emotional or too passionate. God created us for passion and emotions; never give them up.

I also want to encourage you this week to do whatever you are passionate about and see what God might do with it.
If you enjoy sewing, try to get involved in a group in your community that sews together. If it’s cooking, invite your unsaved neighbor over for a good meal. Get creative. God made you a passionate woman, so never settle for less than that!

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