When Passion Drives Purpose

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.

  1. 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.

Β  Β  Β 2. A passion becomes a purpose when I make a commitment to take thoseΒ 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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63 thoughts on “When Passion Drives Purpose

  1. Our passions, Ceil, not only bring joy to ourselves, but to others. That is how we know they are God-given and God-blessed. The world wants us to follow the latest trends and fads. God desires us to follow His precepts and commandments that never fade nor change. We can take so much comfort, and joy, in that unfailing knowledge!
    Blessings to you!

    • Hi Martha! That’s a good point. If God gives, it’s for our joy, and for others. Even if it doesn’t feel like joy sometimes! His love and gifts are timeless, and ride over any fading thing in this world.

      Have a restful night,

  2. I am passionate about this! In the way that you have portrayed way how our ‘passion’ is to serve others. You’ve described the difference between a worldly view of passion that just leads to wanting more ‘stuff’ and God’s view of passion to live out our ‘passions’ to serve others as He designed. and there is so much joy to be experienced in doing it His way.

    • Hi Lynn! Aww, thank you my friend! You said it well too. One passion is for ‘stuff’ and the other is for service. That’s boils it all down very well.

      I hope we all experience the joy of ‘doing it His way’!


    • Hi Jerralea! How nice to see you today!

      I so agree with you. Joining in on the light and turning outward of my gifts is like living heaven on earth. I hope everyone joins us in sharing our passions. Not hiding them under a bushel πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful night,

    • Hi Mari! Yes! That’s what makes life so much fun, and so rewarding. Taking what we have and giving it away is such a powerful and grace-filled act. May we always be focused on that.


  3. Interesting commentary here, Ceil. We certainly do use the word passion in a general, broad sense! I like linking it to purpose, as you say. And especially when we take those passions outward to bless others. That’s where the real blessing lies for us.

    • Hi Betsy! I was wondering how passion can become purpose, and it seemed natural that purpose is outside of ourselves. There are many things I do for myself which are good and right. But I have to remember that serving others is a grace-filled goal too. That makes it a purpose!


  4. I agree with you, Ceil. Passion isn’t identified by time spent in an activity. If so people would think cleaning my house was my passion or perhaps sleeping. Joy is a very good measure!

    • Hi Pam! I had to laugh at your comment about cleaning the house. That is so true! Just because I have to do it, doesn’t make it a passion. Love that! Thanks πŸ™‚

      Let’s all use joy to measure what brings life to our works!
      Happy Leap Day,

    • Hi Linda! Oh, I know you do. And I admire you for it too. To know your purpose is a very powerful thing, and you know yours! Not everyone does.

      Have a lovely day too Linda. Happy Leap Day!

  5. Great post, My Friend! Don’t you love how God inspires us with even the mundane and turns it into a passionate post!! You obviously have a passion for writing and sharing what God has shown you. What a blessing for those of us who read your written word!
    Blessings, Friend!

    • Hi Lulu! I think we share that passion for writing! It’s funny to think about all the ways God instills joy and passion into our lives…and then waits to see what we will do about it.

      I hope you have a day filled with passionate pursuits, and at least one act of love for yourself. Happy Leap Day!

  6. Oh yeah, this is so very good, Ceil. So thought-provoking and clarifying. Yes, we need beauty and joy that feeds our own individual souls. But in the end it’s what we do with those healthy vibrant souls that matters …

    Like loving God with all our hearts. And loving our neighbors as ourselves.

    Thanks for making me think deeper. You usually do!


    • Hi Linda! Thank you for your kind words my friend. You mention the Golden Rule, and really, that’s what Jesus says it all boils down to…

      I hope I will always remember that what God gives, He gives to share. It might not all be shiny and amazing, but that’s okay. Turning ourselves over to others takes talent to a new level, making it a purpose. I think that’s enough!

      Happy Leap Day πŸ™‚

  7. If only … more people had a passion for God.

    Following His Word, loving one another as He commanded. What a peaceful world this would be.

    If only … but these days passion is for material things it seems.

    God bless you Ceil. This is a wonderful post.

    • Hi Victor! I know what you mean. A healthy passion for God always leads us outward to love, peace and joy. Sigh… That’s what the world needs today, in a BIG way.

      Thank you for your kind words about the post too my friend. You bring me joy πŸ™‚

      Happy Leap Day!

  8. Dear Ceil, Powerful post that hits home. I am a quilter and just finished piecing together a top for our queen bed. It is big, to say the least. Hubby suggested we have someone else machine quilt it for us, but I just couldn’t-you see my passion(now I’ll think differently about this word)is hand quilting.
    Thanks for making me look at a word in a different light.
    Hugs, Noreen

    • Hi Noreen! You have a beautiful passion and talent for quilting, I know that. And I’m sure you have given untold joy to so many through your talent. These passions are God-given and important! I can see why you wouldn’t want to machine quilt, that’s not how you want it to be done!

      Hugs right back to you my friend,

  9. Hi Ceil, These days, my passion seems to be Jesus. The things of the world are so fleeting, so temporary that it’s hard to find something that I really want to devote my life to pursuing. Chasing after God is the healthiest thing to do–it holds great rewards. I desire to grow closer to the Lord, to be “married to Jesus” (in the Protestant sense)–passionate about my Savior and Lord. I long for more passion regarding things of the Lord.



    • Hi Kim! It’s a powerful think to know what your passion is, and then to pursue it with love and a sense of generosity. You do certainly pass along your passion in your writing, making it a certain purpose.

      I love the way you describe your desire to be ‘married to Jesus’. I’m not sure what ‘the Protestant sense’ means, but I know that Jesus wants all of us to be His bride. We are His church, His loved ones!

      Blessings to you too my friend πŸ™‚

  10. Ceil: Our passions can change over time. As we mature in our Christian walk, we notice different needs others may have. If we are skilled in certain areas, we may choose to help them find solutions to those needs.

    • Hi Cecelia! Great observation that I didn’t address in the post. You are absolutely right, our passions do change in time and season. The things that call to me now, wouldn’t have even merited a look when I was younger.

      God knows when we should have our desires used, and changed. Thank goodness!

      Happy Leap Day!

  11. Great thoughts on this, Ceil! I really like your definition of passion, and I like how you pointed out that it’s important to pass on the purpose it leads us to. For instance, I am passionate about writing. But my greatest joy has happened as I’ve shared it with others.

    Of course, all joys come from the thing that I am most passionate about – my Lord and Savior, Jesus. How I feel about Him goes beyond myself, and I just love that He feels that way about me, too!!


    • Hi Sharon! I like the way you know that Jesus feels passionately about you! It’s so, so true. He loves you with an ‘everlasting love’, and wants you to be with Him always. Isn’t it great to feel passionately about Him and know that He feels the same way about you?

      You do pass along your passion for writing to all of us, and you encourage and support through it. What a joy for you! Not to mention that it’s a joy for all of us too πŸ™‚


  12. I couldn’t help but think of my daughter’s rental in San Diego and how the owner of the house loves gardening as I read this today. She took that little patch of property and planted shrubs and flowers and would spend hours upon hours in the dirt. I loved watching her. I think measuring our passion by the joy it brings us is a great thought especially when others are blessed by it. Have a great week, Ceil!

    • Hi Mary! I know several people who have a passion for gardening. There’s just something about helping to create a beautiful area, encouraging growth…I can understand why it’s so attractive.

      Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and I think it’s a good measure of our passions. God wants us to be joyful always!

      Have a wonderful week too my friend,

    • Hi Jennifer! I’m doing pretty well…fighting a sinus infection. Bleah.

      I have signed up for a few podcasts, Freakonomics, This American Life… I also signed up for Radiolab, but I haven’t heard anything from them yet. I don’t have enough time to hear it all! There are also many, MANY religious-based podcasts, all you have to do is go to the Apple Store. You can subscribe to whatever sounds good to you. No cost. You can unsubscribe at any time.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  13. I like your definition much better too, Ceil. πŸ™‚ I suppose there are both kinds of passion, this makes sense. But finding purpose with that passion to help make change, or make a difference in lives is the best kind of passion there is.

    Boots can’t do that. BUT if I could make boots and sell them and give the money to a cause? Or buy the boots and use them for a greater purpose than to just ‘wear’ them and enjoy them? Well, now there’s something purposeful to go with that passion! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Christine! Yes, you’ve got the idea. Turning what we do outward and focusing on serving in some way is the road from passion to purpose.

      Our personal passions are not bad at all. We need them! But we also have a call to share and serve, and we do that by using what we have a passion for, and giving it away. Like you and your writing!

      Have a blessed day my friend,

  14. I just love the way you explained this, Ceil. Sometimes it takes such a long time to really delve in and realize what our true passion is…the kind of passion that drives our purpose, as you said. I love the way you put that. I will never forget when my passion became Jesus Christ. It has changed my life in innumerable ways…I can’t even explain it all, but to live a life centered upon HIM has brought such a sense of purpose to me. He truly has become my all in all, and the passion of my soul. God bless you, sweet friend….it is such a joy to walk this blogging journey with you. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Cheryl! Saying that you have found your passion and purpose is a powerful thing. Many people wait a lifetime, trying to figure it out. What a great blessing!

      I think you also have a great passion for people. You demonstrate such a heart of love for people in trouble, or who are sick. Such care, and faithful prayers… You have many purposes in Christ my friend.


    • Hi Denise! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you are having a good day, remembering how special you are in the eyes of the Lord!

      Tuesday blessings!

  15. “A passion becomes a purpose when I make a commitment to take those interests, and move them to serve more than myself.” This! Yes! Great post, Ceil.

    I wouldn’t call house cleaning a passion, but the older I get, the less I feel motivated to do it. A wise lady once told me that she tries to remember to say her prayers of Thanksgiving, or offer prayers for others, during her house cleaning. It would inspire her to clean while offering it up for others.

    There were a couple of things I did not get done around the house over the weekend, because the weather was too lovely to be indoors. The wise lady’s words came back to me yesterday afternoon, and it gave me passion to finish the job as I offered it up for others.

    Now I wish I have trained my mind to think along these lines all the time, but, that isn’t the case πŸ˜‰ Your words of wisdom, combined with hers, will definitely help me remember to do so more in the future.

    Have a great week, Ceil!

    • Hi Patty! Your comments remind me of a book I’m reading by my blog-friend Jeanette. She talks about being more efficient, and one idea is to multitask. That’s what you are doing as you clean and pray. Much like Our Blessed Mother, right? How many times did she clean and pray? I bet it was constant.

      I wish it was lovely here. Sigh… It’s currently snowing! Oh well, that’s pretty too πŸ™‚

      Have a great week too my friend!

  16. I love, love, love and agree, agree, agree πŸ™‚ with your last couple statements. Spending time on something does not necessarily mean it is a passion. It could be I’m just slow. Ha. But to do something which makes a difference in someone else or in me…now that is worth it. Well said Ceil. Although I do take offense at you talking about liking red wine and not a word about Dr. Pepper 10 or Diet DP. LOL. Now…that may be because I have never had a drop of the former and love the latter (but it is not a passion).

    • Hi Bill! Ah yes. Well, I can’t drink Dr. Pepper 10 can I? Wasn’t that marketed as a ‘guys drink’? I used to laugh at those commercials! Sorry about not mentioning the soda, but sadly I am not a Dr. Pepper gal. Takes all kinds, right?

      I’m really pleased you liked what I said, as you are a pastor. It means a lot. And as several other commenters said, passion just can’t be based on time. If it were, they’d all be huge house-cleaning fans πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Thank you Bill,

  17. Then I guess maybe I shouldn’t feel so guilty about the amount of time I spend on my photography (my passion)? I truly love to take pictures, to set up a scene… but my favorites scenes are what God has already set up. People want to see beautiful things…and I enjoy sharing them with others but I never want it to seem like I am boasting when I do share them. How do we keep things like this in perspective, Ceil?

    • Hi Debby! What a fabulous question.

      Pride always comes from intent. If you are intentionally doing something so you will be noticed, appreciated, toasted and loved, you might be in trouble. (Of course, if you enter a contest, this doesn’t apply.) This is not you. Your intent is to share your passion and love of God’s creation with other people.

      Your readers have a passion to see God’s creation, and you are helping them fulfill that need. You have a beautiful, God-given job! See how He makes all things work together for His glory?

      You have a wonderful perspective Debby. Don’t change a thing πŸ™‚

    • Oh Debby, that you share God’s canvas through your lens, is very passionate work. Many do not have the opportunity to be out and about in nature to experience the true light of God, and to be able to tap into the oneness with God. For that is where peace can be found…in God’s glorious creation that we are connected to so whole-heartedly if we can just get out of our own way. The beauty you share is your way of spreading God’s word. Keep it up! Aloha.

  18. Beautiful post. Glad I found your blog. And I join you in your passion to spread joy and the light of God to others. In this day and age, it is our obligation because it seems as though society has gotten it all wrong with their constant pursuits fueled by self-indulgence thrust upon us by advertising all the things we really do not NEED! All we truly need is the light of God, and our passions will be fulfilled. I have always loved the quote by Audrey Hepburn, “As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands. One for helping yourself, and one for helping others.” Aloha!

    • Hi Vicki! I’m glad you found my blog too!

      You make a good point about having passions for what we don’t really need. I remember reading a quote that went something like: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need.” That really resonated with me.

      Thank you for Ms. Hepburn’s quote. It’s perfect, and I wish I had thought of it when I wrote this πŸ™‚
      Have a blessed Tuesday!

    • Hi Mindy!!! Aw, thanks! (Did you mean to use all those ‘p’ words? Pretty cool!)

      Hope you are doing well and the weather is cooperating. We are expecting several inches of snow tomorrow. Oh boy πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful night,

  19. A wonderful post Ceil! I like your version of defining passion much better! There are many things in life that I love, but truly my greatest passion in life is HIM. I love to do many things, but I seek to find HIM in all that I do, and give HIM glory in all I do. I can’t imagine living life any other way! Have a wonderful day my friend, always such a joy to come here, and be blessed by your thoughts! πŸ™‚

    • Hi MM! I am so inspired by your witness of finding the Lord as your passion! That’s should be the story of our lives, don’t you think? Pursuing the Lord with passion, and passing along His love and mercy to all we meet.

      That certainly would make life beautiful! And thank you for passing along your words of encouragement to me. I’m so glad we are connected through our blogs πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful evening,

  20. I like the idea of measuring passion in the joy it brings to us and to others. I love that as we use our passions to serve others God can use them and they can have a “light-filled purpose.”

    • Hi Carly! It’s such a powerful thing to know your passion, and then to recognize how you can use it for the many. I think that’s what makes God truly happy.

      May we always delight Him, as He takes delight in us!

  21. Great post today! I like your definition of passion better than the podcast you were listening to also. There is something about passion leading you to your purpose that makes sense. I agree with #2 above, “A passion becomes a purpose when I make a commitment to take those interests, and move them to serve more than myself.” It reminds me of keeping out light under the bushel basket instead of sharing it with others. That was never God’s purpose for the gifts that he has blessed us with. Thank you for your insight today.

    • Hi Mary! I agree with you. We have to remember how Jesus encouraged us to shine, not hide! If we are called to use our gifts/passions, we should do that with joy.

      I know you are doing that through writing, and now you can do it in your beautiful new space !

      Have a wonderful weekend,

  22. So true and on point, Ceil! We toss passion and love around and the terms somehow get diminished in the process and the sad thing is that I think our younger adults and teens can really be left clueless about the differentiation you so deftly pointed out. (I also see we connect with passion for coffee and a good red wine!! I, too, could add to my list in that sort of passion including fireplaces, candles, books, mountains, etc.) So glad you heard this podcast and it inspired this post! (I thought you might be writing about painting when I first saw the photo of the brushes…..we spent this week painting a hall and bedroom.) Blessings on your weekend!

    • Hi Pam! My gosh, you’ve been busy! Traveling and now painting? Yikes. You put me to shame, that’s for sure.

      I’m glad about the podcast too. It’s so great when inspiration comes, isn’t it?

      Hope you had a great weekend! I just got back from my daughter’s.
      Thank you for reading and commenting on two posts. You are such a great blog-friend πŸ™‚

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