We hear a lot about going with your passions, with allowing our children to study in keeping with their interests, with finding a career path that supports your passion but there is a flip side too. Some time ago one of my teens made this very tongue in cheek comment “Don’t have a passion – not ‘gunna’* do it!” Now we were talking about a very optional issue and they really were not sincere but it pricked my ears. Was there some truth?
We use this idea of passion to help us make decisions as to which way we should go, what things we should do. There are two aspects of passion
- An inner connection with something
- An emotional response
We need to be careful not to get these two mixed up – though they are both valid experiences.
Our Inner connection with something
I believe inner passions are both something we are born with and something that is nurtured – both, equally. I believe God has given us passions and that we are shaped by those passions. I believe passions can be kept alive and passions can be squashed.
As a parent I have wanted to observe my children, let them explore and discover those inner pulls that spark passion in them. These things can’t be boxed – we can see our children characterised by certain interests, certain heart responses, but sometimes these are only for a season, sometimes these shape our kids but in themselves aren’t lasting, sometimes they remain with them as a strong thread of who they are.
We can recognise those passions, and yet those passions need not be the ultimate summary of who our kids are – or who we are when we look at our own passions. If that were the case we would be encouraging Joshua to be a steam-engine driver. Trains where his passion – so deeply passionate. But he was also passionate about cricket. And history. Philosophy. Politics. So many passions – but they don’t define him, and sometimes they don’t even direct him. It would be the same for all my children, and for myself as well – and I’d hazard a guess – you too.
Sometimes though these inner passions can teach us skills and prepare us for the tasks ahead of us. As a young adult I studied interior design in my spare time and my passion was small spaces – little did I know I’d live in a one-room shed, or a caravan for a few years. I was well prepared!
My husband Peter is passionate about being stewards of the earth, about feeding people with the product of the earth – and yet he has been working as a vet, mostly with herd-management and well-being issues. Every so often he gets to speak into the issues around his passion. He says though, sometimes you’ve just got to get in and do a job. And that is true. Sometimes our passions may not be our full life.
And sometimes we get the privilege of working with, living out our passions.
An Emotional Response
Then there is the emotional response of passion. This passion can easily direct our choices – we feel so enthusiastic or we feel so uninspired.
When we feel enthusiastic we need to walk with caution as well. Though making choices based on our feelings often leads to spontaneous fun, it can also lead to heart ache. We need to be wise – and understanding our emotions is a part of that. But we can’t ignore our emotions either – we were made with emotions, God is okay with emotions – but they need to be governed by principle at the same time.
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the might, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32 – we are to rule our spirit, our inner self.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28
There are many situations where we have to push through the lack of passion.
- There are times when I struggle to have my morning devotions and yet when I push through this lack of passion a hunger grows in me that only God can satisfy.
- There are times when I struggle to fulfil my responsibilities around the house and yet when I push through this lack of passion the rewards such as Prov 31:1 “the heart of her husband trusts in her confidently” and vs. 28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed.”
- There are times when we struggle in relationships and yet when we be a friend “who sticketh closer than a brother” true relationships can grow.
The only Reliable Passion
At the core of the idea of using our passions to help direct our choices is the belief that God has created within us a ‘direction in which we shall go’. I believe God’s heart for us is that we desire Him and His ways – more than anything else.
I have always found Psalm 37:4 a bit of circular reasoning – and yet a foundational verse in my life.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
We read this with a ‘gimme-gimme’ attitude and we think that if we delight in God we’ll get what we want. But truth is if we delight in God we will delight in what He wants – which is us to delight in Him!
When it comes to finding our passion, and being directed by our passion Jesus is to be the center of that – and He is the only reliable passion that I can have in my life.
We know without a doubt He wants us to (Matt 22:37-40)
- Love Him with all our heart
- Love our neighbour as our self.
This means we need to do all that we can to bring these two commands to pass –whether we are passionate about the details or not. Of course, without a passion to love God we are left with good works and this is equally dangerous to our Christian faith. So our first heart cry needs to be “Jesus I want to know you – I want to love you, passionately!”
I can be swayed by the value I place on the inner passions I’m created with, I can be swayed by my emotional response to circumstances – but if my eyes are on Jesus, if my heart is set to get to know Him, and delight in his truth then I will find my way.
This is how I’ve encouraged my kids as they grow into young adults and ask so many questions about who they are, and what they are supposed to be doing with their life. At times there are many doors open, at other times it seems as if they are standing in an empty room with no doors. And as hard as it is, if they keep their responses in line with what Jesus would have them do in that situation, they will be walking with him.
The same for each and every one of us. We may not be in the best situation, we may have lost dreams, frustrations, hurts – and yet if we keep our eyes on Jesus, and respond to every situation with Him in mind – then we will be living according to our passion – our passion needs to be Jesus.
That is not to say it is easy – no, things can be hard, we can look for a way out, we can say, as my daughter did all those years ago: no passion – not ‘gunna’* do it!
So what to do?
Pray – In the day when I called You answered me; and You strengthened me with strength (might and inflexibility to temptation) in my inner self.
Pray – I am convinced and sure of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ (right up to the day of His Return) developing and perfecting and bring it to full completion in you. Phil 1:6
Pray- Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Prov 4:13
So when we are tempted to let something go because of a lack of passion I encourage you, as I encouraged my daughter, to seek God and he will develop a passion within you that is consistent with His Word.
*gunna – slang for going to!
Also sharing and linking with others throughout the week:
Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)
Mom’s the Word, Mom2Mom, Mummy Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday Musings, Hip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Coffee and Conversation, Finishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),Women with Intention, Whole Hearted Home, Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, Shine Blog Hop, All things with Purpose, A Little R & R, From House to Home, Fellowship Fridays, Homeschooling Highschool Linkup, Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape