As I prepared for this week’s topic on passion, I wrote a LOT– this is an especially hard topic for me. Hard to understand what approach to take. Hard to write about something that’s supposed to be personal but that I don’t have a personal answer for. Hard to not be negative.
Passion. It’s defined by hardship, after all. Until you suffer for it, it’s really only a strong interest. Once you sacrifice for it, then you have the right to call it a passion. Prior to that, using the word “passion” is hyperbole. Or this is how I think of passion, anyway. If you call something a passion, you better be ready to take a bullet, physical or metaphorical, for it. To be passionate is to have counted the cost and chosen to carry on anyway.
Christians talk a lot about passion. Our Christ, after all, experienced THE passion. Which was defined by suffering, by the way. And though I am in Christ and He in me, I am hard-pressed to name something I feel that way about. But this can’t be right! We’re made in His image, and passion HAS to be part of that. I’m just not ready to apply that label to anything in my life yet.
One hump I have to get over regarding passion is that in my mind, as soon as I say, “Yes! I am passionate about writing” (a purely hypothetical example), all of a sudden I’m open to scrutiny and criticism I don’t want! And the pressure to move forward with it in some way or other … Have you thought about self-publishing? I know someone who wrote a book once, maybe they could give you some pointers! You should definitely go to a conference! Are you promoting yourself on social media? Have you applied for jobs in that field?
Even if no actual person said these things to me, the thinly veiled criticism of unsolicited helpfulness has already been leveled by yours truly. And I’m already weary of it. And nothing has even been said yet!
It would be best for me to be passionate about something I know nothing about, so at least then I can’t stop myself with a negative inner monologue.
That was a joke.
Passion has seemed to me a doubled-edged sword. The same force that makes you feel most alive will wring the last drops of life from you. It will make you rich and demand your last dime, which you will freely give. It will empower you to change the world or consign you to live and die in obscurity.
So what am I really signing up for when I say I want to live my life with passion? Or acknowledging that I know I do, somehow, in a way that is not clear yet? My imagination tells me there’s something ominous waiting around the corner. But how typical of me lately to listen to the voice of fear instead of trusting my Good Father:
The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it. ~ Proverbs 10:22
A woman I went to church with years ago encouraged me with this verse, and I have never forgotten it, even if I have not always believed it. It’s in my heart, ready to be chosen from among the lies to empower me to live a life of courage and passion.
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Joni Butler has called the ‘Ham home since 2012. Officially, she’s here for employment but has found a home here at Breath. Though an avid diarist for years, this is her first writing gig. Jesus is her best friend and she loves pursuing Him passionately. You can read more about Joni in her Breath Bio.