Have you engaged in an activity or embraced a responsibility that you didn’t want to end, even after you expended all your physical energy?
Is there a cause or a need that you feel all fired up about?
Do you find yourself happily volunteering your time, without counting the cost, even if you don’t get one bit of recognition or financial gain for your sacrifice?
Maybe you’ve had the opposite experience, like being stuck with a job or in a social situation that drained the life out of you. Or maybe you’ve felt frustrated, overwhelmed, or unprepared for a particular task or in a certain type of social situation.
Friend, your reactions are actually clues to discovering your God-given passions and potentially your life purpose.
For example, if your responsibilities and relationships feel like life-givers, then you’re likely tapping into your passions. If you feel you must communicate a particular message, accomplish a goal, or realize a vision, then that mission may also be fueled by your passions.
That’s because God has uniquely wired you with a particular temperament, gifting, and driving abilities, which combined with your life experiences, shape your passions and thereby impact your sense of life purpose.
God’s perfectly crafted your life to see it from a “passionate” vantage point, which thereby compels you to do something about it.
Have you ever noticed how being “fired up” by an experience may result in a desire to do something about it — that’s passion with a purpose. Consider the way a particular experience, such as the traumatic loss of a family member, suffering through financial strains, or engaging in a missions trip to a poverty-stricken region, can illicit a personal response toward effecting change. It’s natural to respond and reach out to others as a result of what we’ve emerged from — this is what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “. . . we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
God may cultivate a passion through a life experience and turn it into a life purpose.
For example, my passion about life transformation is a result of what I’ve experienced through God changing me from the inside out, enabling me to overcome my anger, and writing a new legacy for my family. I long to see others experience change like that themselves. Yet it’s only in recent years that my life purpose reflects this passion in a public way. For decades, it was a quiet passion lying dormant while I followed through on responsibilities that seemed totally unrelated. I graduated college as a double major in English and Art with plans to enter into public relations or advertising. Instead I landed a job as an editorial assistant at a biology journal before becoming an admissions counselor a private school. None of the jobs reflected my passion or gave me a sense of purpose — as a matter of fact, I didn’t even know what I was passionate about back then. However, twenty years later, I’m doing what I’m passionate about as I write, speak, and lead a ministry devoted to equipping women to experience life transformed for the sake of impacting the next generation.
Understanding your purpose in light of your passions can be liberating, but only if you don’t feel bound to building your career around it.
Too often we think that passion and purpose ought to be reflected what we do for a living. However, as I write about in Meet the New You, a career pays the bills while a calling — the way you express your passions and purpose — may be explored elsewhere. Over a lifetime, careers and calling will most certainly change because passions continue to develop.
So what if we shifted our focus off of pinpointing our passions and purposes?
What if we focused on the bigger picture by choosing to do everything for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)? Shouldn’t that be our life purpose and also our passion? Why not embrace every responsibility and relationship with passion on purpose for the sake of glorifying God as our whole-life mission?