I was with a friend recently and he asked, in response to my vague descriptions of future plans, “What are you passionate about?” After thinking upon a chapter in a book I read that evening, I think I have found some way of discovering what you are passionate about. For myself, I have many things I enjoy, but much of the time, I am at a loss as to a definite pursuit of them as a means for a living. I fear I will become bored with them, distracted, uninspired, and therefore lose interest and have no passion about what I am doing, which, if your livelihood depends upon such a thing, is a scary thought. This situation is further compounded for us who live in a free society, where opportunity is a simple phone call, car ride, or conversation away. To pursue your desires has never been easier than before in all history. So, to be passionate about the thing you are pursuing coupled with the ability to realistically achieve those desires one has, is a gift and a burden for us today. Though at times, for many, it comes down to fundamental economics. Sometimes your deep passions must be restrained in order to put food on the table. But for those of us in a position where the choice is still open and possibilities are pouring in, how do I go about really finding a place to find and pour out my passions. The key, after what I read that evening, comes from the 2nd commandment of Christ – “Love your neighbor as yourself”
In the book I read, What Jesus Demands of the World by John Piper, he describes how the 2nd commandment is an outpouring of the first. If we love God with all our being, then we will love our neighbor for the same purpose, that is, to so point them to love God also with their whole being. And those ways of pointing them to love God will be through practical displays of love, giving, mercy, and compassion. (What Jesus Demands of the World, by John Piper, pgs. 256-262). And here in lies what I see is the most constructive way to find what you are passionate about: What ways brings you the most pleasure in loving people? We must ask ourselves, “Given the opportunity, what are those ways that I am joyous in loving and serving other people?” Those means will, and necessarily must, vary from person to person, for if God gifted all as teachers, then there would be no need for teachers. The problem currently, I believe, is that the church has found herself in a rut and finds that there are only a few giftings worth sharing. But this not need be so. We do not need to exalt alone those gifts that are dedicated for the building up of the church, i.e., pastoral and teaching roles. Though these roles are crucial to the church, they are not the only means that God has given his church to love the world. There are many other fashions that he has given as well. Some, God has gifted as mothers. The skills learned to care for children, for youths, and for their providers are essential. And in such a venue, one can display the love of Christ mightily. Coming to the aid of a hurting child, compassion for a husband displaced from work or coming home from a rough day at work, encouraging other sisters in their motherhood and to persevere, these are all ways God uses mothers to spread the love of Christ through their passion. Or the laborer, who works framing homes and buildings, loves his bosses and fellow co-workers through hard-work, being a pure and positive voice among many foul and cursing ones, and helping those out who are in need of help.
So when you ponder your future, what it is that you would like to “do”, and are considering, “what am I passionate about”, to find what is most joyous look to those jobs where you find joy in loving people through those things that God has gifted you. Sometimes loving takes on the form of giving money, as a supporter. If God has gifted you as a businessperson, then let that ability overflow into helping those whose positions in life have left them in need of help financially, or needing support through your workings. If God has gifted you to work as a schoolteacher, then teach students with the utmost of love and guidance and care. Find those means that bring you joy in bringing another joy.
Some may ask: “What are you passionate about doing?” Take the next step and ask: “What ways are you passionate about loving others?” Then, after you have learned what those means are, go and do them.