I’m preparing to speak at an upcoming women’s retreat and the theme is “Start a Fire”. No, this isn’t a retreat for closet arsonists. It’s a time designed to get fired up for our Creator. But in preparing for the retreat, I began meditating on the word ‘passion’ and started thinking about what most of us are passionate about.
What gets you excited? Hot under the collar? What makes you shout in excitement? In other words, what’s your passion?
For some people it’s their kids and grand kids. For others, it’s sports or finding the perfect sale at their favorite store. Coffee and chocolate. Pinterest, decorating, hunting, or, ahem, dare I say it? It seems that judging by the insane number of arguments on social media of late, politics might be a passionate interest for a few of us. Call it a hunch.
If you’re not sure what your passion is, there’s a simple way to find out. We talk about what excites us. What you talk about most is what you dwell on. What you dwell on is your passion.
This can work in either extreme. The intensity of feeling between love and hate often seems like a fine line. We can be on fire for good things or on fire for, well, not-so-good things.
While I was pondering all this, I googled, “What are people passionate about?”. Of course, I hit about 10,000 sites all offering bloviating advice on everything from soap operas to diet pills. But one particular page caught my attention. The author suggested every person in the world must be passionate about these things or they would be doomed to a life of misery and perpetual angst. Her list insisted to be a successful human, one must be passionate about: their fitness, be in-tune with their current romantic interest, acquiring knowledge, acquiring money and simplifying their life.
Can you see me rolling my eyes?
Don’t get me wrong. None of these things are bad in and of themselves. But the problem is none of them will last. Paul said exercise for the body does profit a little. It’s important to care for the temple God gave us. But we aren’t supposed to worship the temple. Eventually, it will die. And what will we have left to show for all our passionate efforts?
Knowledge without wisdom does nothing. Neither does relationship without love. The more money one acquires, the emptier they feel. And as far as pursuing a simpler life goes, that’s mighty hard to do while simultaneously pursuing riches. The two cannot coexist.
So what am I trying to say?
We all need to take a step back from time to time and examine what our passion is. Is it our family? Our possessions? The next big thing on the schedule? The sports team we love to follow? Our own personal dreams? I’m hesitant to even pursue those, because I’ve learned the hard way that dreams can become gods if I take my eyes off Jesus.
What we talk about is what we’re passionate about. I, for one, need to make sure that what I’m excited about are things that matter. Things that will last far beyond the here and now. Love, faith, and hope. Investing in people. Not things or accomplishments.
Passionate people have courage. They’re positive. They live unbalanced for the things that matter most. They aren’t consumed with perfectionism and fear. I want to be a passionate person, but only if my enthusiasm is for Jesus.
That’s a passion that will last.