Passion Tools

The Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question: ‘Did he have passion?’” (Dean Kansky, Serendipity)

I’ve been thinking lately about my current passion—the configuration of things that drive my time spent and use of resources and gifts. What is it? Writer Jeff Goins among a ton of others says we need to first define our passion. The word is frequently used by my family. My teenage granddaughter has recently discovered a new expression of a red-hot passion and wants to talk about it. Comparing what I felt at her age with where I am today, I’m wondering what the Greeks would say about me.

It is time to scrape the barnacles off my soul and figure this out. I’ve never scraped a barnacle and couldn’t find one at Walmart if I knew what aisle it was in. But I have scraped paint, so I think I can tackle this.

My toolboxes—I have several—are rich with squares, levels, stud finders and a cordless drill. I have attempted to build a house with a screwdriver and hammer and that didn‘t turn out great. What are the tools to rediscover one’s passion?

A heart lurch. Gordon MacDonald has enriched my summer with his book Mid-Course Correction which Jon Acuff recommended. MacDonald talks a bit about being part of the evangelical wing of the church which is emphatic about born-again experiences. He says,

“…our movement is quite familiar with conversions. But I confess that I question our understanding of continuing conversion, the spiritual journey that takes us from the Cross and prods us toward…where the evidence of deep change shows itself.” (page 232)

My heart surged when I read that. I’m all about nurturing people into their callings and the journey between the Cross and Heaven: Healing wounds, deliverance from bondage, the decision and then the equipping to accept and to appropriately love one’s self. (An open door and a launching pad!) My heart lurches toward deep change events.

I look for tools to implement and then maintain personal change. That is why Brene Brown’s research and writing on shame (“I’m not…enough.”) and Leanne Payne’s work on the power of self-acceptance and the destructiveness of self-rejection are important to me. That’s the reason I study what they say and want to share them with whoever will listen. They are resources.

My sister-in-law (complicit with my wife) asked me to hang pictures and stuff on her newly painted house walls. First of all, I find drilling holes into a new or freshly painted wall despicable. I get grumpy, sarcastic and menacing with sharp objects. I used a level to make sure. The top of the mirror was level but it looked crooked. It was crooked. My wife can spot an off-level shelf from a thousand feet. The mirror didn’t need to be level on the top as much as it needed to be square with the two walls it hung between. Now there are three new holes in the fresh paint and it is not level. Unhappy guy with hammer! But the stupid thing looks right.

Passion takes into account such emotional and intellectual wiring. It also accounts for personal preferences.

We have two family dogs who frequent our house. If you drew a straight line between our front door and the mail box and then measured six inches on either side of that line, those dogs would assume that their toilet boundaries have been marked out. In our whole yard they like the places where I walk. As we search our souls for passion, we need resources to keep us from “stepping in it.”

  1. A tribe
  2. A spiritual director may be another.
  3. An inflow of refreshment and stimulation
  4. A frequently freshened conversation with God.

After 38 years of living as an atheist, Anne Rice began her path back to God and to her church. She says about the days of departure from her early faith, “I lost my intimate conversation with God… I stopped talking to Him and looking to Him to help me—long before I lost my faith.”

After much frustration, I learned the value of keeping the wood plane sharp. (That sounds like something Stephen Covey would say.) A frequent conversation with God is part of the process. A tool for finding your passion—the motivating, stimulating producer of the best in you to touch your world with the love of God, His provision that grows into life-change. Does it help me? Usually. Sometimes it just confuses me as I try to connect what I’m hearing with what I’m doing.

©2015 D. Dean Benton—

Stay connected: Follow me on Twitter: @DeanBenton

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