I’m in a slight quandary over the subject of passion. What is it? Where does it come from? What makes some people passionate over painting and others collecting engine numbers of locomotives: train spotters, they still exist, you know. Is it not odd that one person’s pleasure is another person’s dread? Take myself for example; I don’t play computer games, not on tablets, phones, gizmo’s, gadgets, boxes – none of it works for me. I don’t play them to relax me or stimulate me; I don’t play them to beat them or to be beaten by them; I don’t anticipate the next release since I live in my own little world of not being aware of their first release. I don’t do games. There’s just no passion for them. Other people do, lots of people in fact, there’s a whole industry built around it I understand.
So what is passion? Wikipedia says: ‘Passion (from the Latin verb patere meaning to suffer) is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm or desire for anything.’
Passion burns. Its symbol is fire. It consumes.
So what are you passionate about? Or perhaps this question is more appropriate – What were you passion about? Since passion can be killed, it can die. Experience teaches that many of our passions get crushed. And often they get crushed not by big things, but by lots of little things which when added together make the big thing which kills passion. Discouragement, disappointment, frustration, criticism, time restrictions, a lack of funds – all of these things act as passion killers.
To keep passion alive we have to work with it and not against it. Passion needs fuel if it is to keep on burning; we have to tend our passions to keep them alive. Consider what Paul said to the young Timothy. ‘For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (1 Tim 2:6)’ He needed to work at. Undoubtedly God had given Timothy gifts, but Paul knows that any gift not tended can be lost; any passion not kindled will slowly ebb away.
Still not sure what your passion is? Then sit down, open your mind and be prepared to be blown away. This statement, by John Eldridge, if read on a warm summers days whilst sipping a cool beverage will change your life if you act on it. Here goes…
“Do not ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself, what makes you come alive inside, for what the world needs is people who have come alive inside.”
This is where passion is mined, in the inner desires of the human heart – go for it!
Circle of Life Is it ever right to put yourself first? I know, it’s a dangerous question to ask—and especially in a Christian context. Surely we exist to put others first—to prioritise their needs over our own. This is the Christian way—or certainly the inferred way to live as a Christian. But is it right?
Well, I’m not sure that it is right and certainly not in its entirety—and here’s why. People who give out, if not refreshed, tend to burnout—and often big time. And God does not what you burnt out—it’s not his will for you.
I mean, the church is littered with those who have ‘burnt out for Jesus’ the consequences of which have left a nasty mess for those brought in to mop up afterwards. There needs to be a different way—a burn on, but not burn out way: a sustainable way. So what is?
Well, it has to do with rhythm, cycles and seasons. Everyday has a rhythm, each week a cycle and each phase of life a season. And, at the risk of sounding like a prophecy from Ezekiel, each season has cycles that run within it and rhythms that run inside those cycles and together they become the circle of your life. The whirling and twirling of all those things come together to present you with the time of your life—in a similar way to the intricate wheels and cogs of a watch come together to present you with the time of day. Now it’s not possible here to talk about cycles and seasons but here are a few thoughts on rhythm.
People often think that rhythm is a bad thing because it leads to routines as if routines in themselves are bad for you. They’re not bad but good. Routines don’t crush you, they save you because they help to bring priority and structure to your days without which we can drift on endlessly without purpose. They provide the frameworks of work, rest and play – showing us when to start and stop certain activities – ignore them and we abuse the gift of life we’ve been offered. Do you have a partner? When was your last date night? Are you a parent? When was the last visit to the park – without the mobile, but with the kids! (I speak to myself, you understand!) And here’s a thing: Have you read a good quality book this year? If not why not – seriously, why not? Don’t you care for your soul? Now stop sinning and take a trip to Waterstones :) Okay, so I will get off my little hobby horse now – but not before I’ve made my point. Take care of yourself for goodness sake – after all God has done everything he can to take care of you through Christ – now it’s your turn.