Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do You Know Your Passion?

Nehemiah 8:10  Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. 

Today's foundational verse might not seem like it has much to do with understanding our passion.  But one of the things that's been in my meditations lately is that there seem to be those who are miserable in what they do, while others seem to be having a blast.  And that's where the above verse comes in, which we'll get to, momentarily.

Recently, Mary DeMuth was a guest author on Michael Hyatt's blog. She wrote an article titled "Find Your Passion in Three Steps."  Miss DeMuth covers a lot of territory, including a number of things that can keep us from our passion.  You can read the full post, plus a lot of other great articles at http://michaelhyatt.com.  But let's focus on the three steps:

1) Where does need and joy collide?  Miss DeMuth gives a great ministry related explanation for this.  In short, ministry meets a need and your passion is where you find your greatest joy  in meeting the need.

2) Do the Three Movie Exercise.  This one could also be three favorite books or three favorite sermons.  The point is that your favorites are going to have a common thread.  And that common thread is related to your passion.

3) Ask Others About "One Thing".  Another good suggestion.  We can be too close to ourselves to clearly recognize what our passion is. But others, from reading our writing or being around us, may have a better understanding of the thing that moves us.

Keep those three steps in mind.  And definitely go to http://michaelhyatt.com and read the full article.  In the meantime, we're going to look at another post on the subject.  Shortly after I read Mary Demuth's great article, Pastor Jason Moore covered the same subject from a different angle.  The full post is titled "3 Questions" and can be read in full at http://altarsflame.blogspot.com, along with some other great posts.

Psalm 137:1-6 gives 3 questions: 1) What do you dream about? What would you do if you had no fear of failure. 2) What do you cry about? Burdens that drive passions. 3) What do you sing about? What causes you to rejoice. Consider these answers and to what direction do they take you - are you walking that way?

Six great probes into our hearts to find our passion.  Yet, I think there are other probes that are core to who we are as Christians and how we find our passions.

One of my outreach leaders suggested that it didn't make much sense to do a particular outreach if our heart isn't in it, if we aren't having fun doing it.  Don't get me wrong.  There will be times of trial, sadness, etc.  But there will still be a sense of fulfillment, even in those.  And, once in awhile, there are times when it's just plain difficult and hard. And only 20/20 hindsight will show us our true place in those circumstances.  But we need to look at our life.  If we're hearing from God and following our call, we're very likely living in our passion. Perhaps not to the extent we might like.  But I believe that we naturally are drawn in that direction.  So, look for it. And that's where our starting verse comes in.

Nehemiah 8 talks about Israel being read the Law by Ezra at the Feast of Trumpets.  Their response to the Word of God was sadness because they had failed to adhere to the Law.  And, here in verse 10, they're first told to celebrate and feast.  Relaxed enjoyment.  Then to share that feast with those in need.  So far, that sounds an awful lot like Mary DeMuth's first step.  Next they're told not to be sorry.  Not lacking repentance, but not living in self pity and loathing, either. Finally, the verse gives the reason   Our strength comes from the joy given by the Lord.  We don't live in self focus on our failures, nor in our self proclaimed desires.  If we heed God's leading and call, He will direct our ways (Isaiah 45:13).  We get to find our passion by being delivered into it by God.  Thus getting to live in His joy in what we're doing because we're in His will!

So, we can enjoy our passion and rejoice in the fact that God gave it to us to enjoy. As always, continue in prayer for Libby.

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