“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9, ESV)
Recently I’ve been encouraged by my Pastor to take a fresh look at my life, to re-evaluate the direction that God may be leading me. As a part of that, I’ve been looking at my passions, things in life—past and present—that have fueled me and gotten me excited. The theory being that our life experiences and our passions are the keys that open the doors to our callings.
The easy part is looking back and identifying those passions. There were “spiritual” passions. I’ve always loved the Word (though not always at the same level). I’ve always loved helping people on their faith journeys. And there were “personal” passions. Music (singing, playing guitar and bass, writing songs, mixing sound) has always been a passion. I’m not exceptionally talented, but for some reason I’ve always found the real me in music. Through the years I could list many passions—hunting, fishing, woodworking, running, photography, writing. There has always been an ebb and flow with them.
Many years ago I felt that God was leading me on a specific ministry path. The thought of it filled me with passionate, emotional energy. I changed my major from Pre-Physical Therapy, at a Big Ten school, to Biblical Studies at a small private college. I got my degree but opted not to pursue a seminary degree right away.
Then life happened.
For the longest time I held on to an image in my mind of what success looked like—that “specific ministry path” I had pictured for myself. Of course nothing else ever came close to measuring up. And along with my self-perceived failure, I took quite a few other hard knocks through the years. It was only recently that I realized that God had been preparing me for ministry, just not the ministry I thought I was destined for.
You see, I had “planned my way,” but God had a different road for me to travel. I spent a long time watching my dream fade in the rearview mirror while completely missing out on the person God wanted me to be!
It has been said that “life” is what happens when you have other plans. The potential that exists in those moments, how they can mold and shape us, is limitless.
So, where is this going? What does this have to do with passion?
I believe that God gives us passions to steer us through life, toward the “steps He establishes.” And just as Tiger Woods has had to tweak his golf swing through the years, We need to be open to tweaking our passions.
I’ve heard people say that they don’t want to become Christians because they are afraid of what God will force them to give up. I believe that God has given us our passions. And, coupled with life’s furnace, hammer and anvil, our passions move us toward our calling. God isn’t some cosmic kill-joy trying to confiscate our happiness. He uses our happiness to touch our hearts, and through us, the hearts of many others.
To be honest, I haven’t yet come to any rock-solid conclusions as to how God wants to use me with what time I have left. But I am getting closer! I’m certain that this blog is a part of it, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead.
I guess I wanted to let you know that finding God’s will for our lives doesn’t have to include a sweat lodge and a vision quest. Sometimes it only requires an inward look and finding a way to honor Him with your passion.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels