by co-founder Tanya Dennis
Someone once told me that I’m like a kite blowing a different direction every time the wind changes. “Your husband must have trouble holding onto your string!” This dear friend laughed, bewildered by what he perceived to be a short attention span and a lack of cohesive purpose. He couldn’t see where all the strings entwine.
I very freely admit that I am a bit A.D.D. I get bored with monotony and love to try new things and explore fresh ideas and projects. I’m very bad at sitting still and find it nearly impossible to do nothing at all. None of this, however, means I’m flighty. I may have a few loose strings here and there, but nearly everything I do, nearly everything I believe and fight for points back to one core tenet I hold to be absolutely, unshakably true.
All people are created with value and we need to protect and celebrate that.
Last month three different schools invited me to speak, a total of four invitations. On the surface these were drastically different opportunities.
One public high school invited me to speak about human trafficking and the work of Justice Network. The audience included students studying drama, gender equality, women’s issues, history, and civics.
A different, much smaller public school invited me to speak (twice) to different groups of middle schoolers about life in Bosnia and the impact of the Code of Silence after the genocide that took place during their civil war.
The third opportunity came from a private Christian elementary school. They needed a chapel speaker. I spoke about God not having any blueprints; that His will for us is more about loving Him and loving others than in following a perfectly-drawn plan.
Three different schools.
Three different age groups.
Three different topics.
One common theme at the heart of it all.
Why I Do What I Do
On the surface, I may appear to fly in a dozen different directions.
I’m a travel agent. I sell amazing vacations so that families can invest in relationships and shared experiences.
As co-founder of Justice Network , I’m a justice advocate. I spend a lot of time talking about, reading about, and mobilizing people to do something about human trafficking. I also use my voice to speak against abuse, inequality, oppression, and racism.
I’m a writer and editor. I tell stories and help others to tell theirs.
I’m a Bible teacher. I launch people into deep explorations of who God is, what the Bible says, and what all of that means for us today.
I’m a wife and a mother. There’s too much in those two titles to even attempt quantifying what’s behind them.
I have worked with refugees, abused children, boarding school teachers, church planters, atheists, Muslims, stay-at-home moms, and art students. I have lived in rural Midwest towns, war-torn Bosnia, a Swiss mountain village, American inner-city “war zones,” and affluent suburbs. No matter what my job, no matter what my title, one thing remains true and ties it all together.
All people are created with value. We need to protect and celebrate that.
Whether they be a homeless youth at risk of being trafficked; a young girl tricked and sold into prostitution; a single mom just trying to make ends meet; a rich neighbor who doesn’t realize the world is bigger and they have a part to play in making it better … It doesn’t matter who they are or what title they possess. They have value.
As a Christian, I am convinced not only that this value is God-given, but also that His will for us is to celebrate that value in each other. God has charged us to care for one another, to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before Him.
You may think vacation planning and racial reconciliation don’t go together. Or that studying the Bible and fighting human trafficking have nothing in common. They may look like completely independent kites. They have different colors and patterns; they fly a little differently. But follow the threads. Eventually they all entwine into one beautiful purpose.
Do What You Do
Don’t be afraid to fly your kite.
For a long time I felt I needed to find one sole job, one identifying title, one thing that kept me grounded. I missed way too many opportunities to serve others simply because I didn’t know what I should do. I didn’t know yet where I fit in.
Your kites may be very different from mine. You may have different roles to fulfill. That’s okay – great even! Go for it. Don’t be afraid. God has given you gifts and talents that only you can use. Celebrate that.