I strapped on my headphones and headed off for a walk. The theme of the podcast today was: “Finding your Passion.”
As I listened to the panel of speakers, my mind bounced around that concept, and it came to me that these days, the word ‘passion’ has morphed. It seems to me that the concept of passion has evolved to mean obsession.
All over the internet, people share their excitement for cars, colors, fashion or pets, finishing off their comments with, “I’m obsessed!” In other words, they feel passionately that these are good things.
In the midst of all this ‘passion’ and ‘obsession’, I wondered how anyone can find a guiding light. Isn’t passion supposed to drive purpose? And if that’s true, how in the world will a new boot style fuel my purpose?
It was at that point I decided that there are two kinds of passion. Only one of them leads to purpose.
- I have a passion for coffee, and a good glass of red wine. I’d be happy to tell you all about my favorite coffee place or red wine blend. I enjoy these treats very much. I also have a passion for fireplaces, pea soup and fuzzy socks. But here’s the thing. Although I like these things, they are not going to lead me to a purpose in my life.
I like them because I enjoy them. Myself. For me.
The things we do and enjoy are good. They make life enjoyable and fun. There are all kinds of different interests that people are passionate about: woodworking, Star Wars, cooking, donuts, gardening, and knitting just to name a few.
2. A passion becomes a purpose when I make a commitment to take those interests, and move them to serve more than myself.
Gardeners, for example, are usually very passionate. They check their soil for acidity, they water and pull weeds. The know all about sunlight vs. shade plants, and plan their gardens accordingly.
Gardening moves from personal satisfaction to purpose when the love of growing and tending the plants moves from a backyard to the community. Produce grown can be donated to food pantries. Neighbors can volunteer to establish local, urban farm plots.
Many cities in our area sponsor urban farming co-ops in the summer months. Children are taught about growing food from seeds, and can participate in the growth and tending of the plants right up to the harvest.
All the things in life we enjoy are unique gifts from God. As we uncover them, we have a choice. We can use them to enhance our own life experiences, and/or choose to turn them outward to enhance someone else’s.
As I got back to the podcast, the panel was defining passion by how much time is dedicated to the activity. Well, yes. I get that…
But I like my definition better.
I don’t want to define my passions in terms of how much time I spend on them. I think I’ll measure them by the joy they bring to me.
Or how they bring joy to others, becoming a light-filled purpose.
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