Monday, April 01, 2013

A Is for Ardent

Have you ever tried to learn the names of a group of people within about 10 to 15 minutes? Well, my friends over at the Nashville Rescue Mission and I have done so, several times over the past almost 12 years that I've been volunteering there monthly with the Christ-centered addiction-recovery program.

Image Credit: Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
I plan the ice-breaker activities each month and play "emcee." And one of my favorite games to pull out of my planning toolkit is the one in which each person chooses an adjective to describe himself and the word must begin with the same letter as his first name. So, since my first name actually is Andrea (I go by Andi a lot), my word needed to begin with A. And you would think that after several years of using this ice-breaker activity, I'd come up with another word to describe myself, but I haven't. My word is ardent.

Webster's defines ardent as "characterized by warmth of feeling expressed in eager zealous support or activity." Initially, I've considered my describing myself as ardent to be more about how passionate I can be about different things. Anyone who knows me will will attest to my passion for well-proofread writing (grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important, people!), my daily dosages of coffee, dark chocolate, and the use of the indicator signal (when driving). But I realize now (as in - as of writing this blog post!) that ardent really applies even more to the way I enjoy encouraging others — becoming someone's ardent supporter, even if it's for the few moments that I get to talk to the person.

Philippians 4:13 plaque
Image Credit: WallBling (Etsy store)

The richest times spent at the mission among the men who are working so hard to put their lives back together (and learning that it's more about surrender than it is about control) are those when one listens to their stories, whether of their current struggles or their recent victories. And in those moments, I most enjoy speaking encouragement and truth into the person's life — those messages of "You can trust that God has good plans for you" or "I can tell that you have a love for ______ and a gift in ______. I could see you as doing {this job} or having {that vocation}." I love shining a light on the possibilities for the future that God has for the person I'm speaking to, weaving together the Scripture(s) that come to mind and the observations I've made about him throughout the evening and encouraging him to believe that God will use the gifts and talents and passions He's placed in that person's design, to His glory.

So since the word ardent applies to me so well (I can be rather demonstrative or dramatic in the right contexts), I'll keep using it each time I have the men and my fellow ministry team members participate in this game/activity. It's such a great word!


Gabriel Gadfly said...

"Ardent" has always been one of my favorite words. It feels so much better than its synonyms.

Jean said...

What a job you have. I think "ardent" is a great word to describe yourself. The world needs more people like you :)
Good luck with the challenge.

sherilee said...

I love the word "ardent," and how you describe your work with the men in recovery. Nice kick-off post. Looking forward to seeing what else you write in the coming 25 days...

Tamara Woods said...

I like that you took a word and made it such a personal experience. I feel like I learned a lot about you through this post!

Ameron said...

I found your blog through the A to Z Challenge. I myself write a Dungeons & Dragons gaming blog. When I saw your “A” post used the word Ardent my mind first went to my comfort zone of gaming.

Until today the only time I’d ever heard the word Ardent was in the context of D&D. There is a character type called the Ardent and here's how its described:

For the ardent, emotions are more than mere sensation. Emotion is a weapon you can wield and a tool with which the world can be remade. You draw power from your experience, taking advantage of your joy, your courage, and even your fear. You call on the power of your psionics by focusing your mental state, weaving emotion into a complex web or inflaming your passions through sheer force of will. Just as you channel this power, you are also a conduit for it. Sensing the emotions of allies and enemies alike, you manipulate them to suit your purpose with a deft mental touch.

I realize this is a bit off centre from the point you’re making with this article, but I thought you might find it interesting to see how this word you’ve discovered has been used in another creative way to define a certain kind of hero, a leader among those trying to do the right thing.

Cathy said...

An ardent supporter is a very good thing to be. As Christians its probably something we all should be.