Passion is the essential energy of the soul.
There are four things I can think of off the top of my head that awaken every part of me: New York City between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, a good country bar on a Friday night, energetic worship at church, and country music concerts.
I count myself incredibly lucky that I can think of 4 just off the cuff. If I thought about it harder I’m sure I could find more, but because I know so many people who lack any kind of passion for anything in their lives, 4 seems like a blessed number.
The quote that begins this post was on a small post-it stuck to the inside of my wallet for years. Every time I opened my wallet I read that quote and I remembered how fixated I became on the idea of passion when I read Brennan Manning’s words for the first time. I read it when I was single, so I wasn’t even thinking about romantic passion, especially because that kind of passion puts my ‘essential energy’ at the whim of another person. I was thinking about experiences in life that enliven me, that make every bit of me stand to attention.
I thought of this when I was at Jason Aldean/Florida-Georgia Line/Tyler Farr last week. To say I was giddy is putting it mildly. I couldn’t stop smiling that morning as I sang ‘Night Train’ and ‘Dirt Road Anthem’. I almost ripped the tickets because I pulled them so tightly on either end. I squirmed in my seat the entire ride to the arena. And once there, I jumped up and down for most of the show. My hands were up in an act of surrender to the life I felt radiating through me as those guys played their songs. And the entire next day, while there were no less than 5 things that would have normally made me angry or upset, every last one of them rolled right off my still-singing-and-dancing self. I was carrying that passion with me, and I will for a while, because that’s what country music concerts do to me. It’s the same when worship is incredible; I’m solid for at least 2-3 days. A good night dancing yields the same, and a trip to NYC in the winter time lasts even longer.
Passion is something I believe most of us have settled for not having. We get in our routine, we stick to our schedules, we give up trying for things we love … all for what? Sometimes good reasons, most of the time for laziness? Apathy? Distractions? All of the above?
There is so much life to be found in passion. So much energy, vitality and vigor. Passion feeds us. It keeps us going in a way that we don’t feel like we’re dragging ourselves through each day. Passion makes us feel thrilled to be alive.
There is certainly not one category that our passion must fall under. It could be family-related; maybe you’re passionate about being a mom. That’s awesome; the educator in me thanks you a million times over. Your passion could be work-related, or a hobby, or experience-based (like my NYC and concert loves). It could be your faith, or it could be a thousand other things. So with all the possibilities, how do you find your passion? Here is my suggestion:
1. Take 15 minutes and reflect on every big and small thing you’ve experienced in your life that has made you just this side of happy.
2. Out of all of those things, which one or ones, when you’re experiencing them and for a little while after, make you feel like you’re on cloud 9? The kind of joy and good mood that is so obvious other people comment on it.
3. Seek new experiences and remain open-minded. The more you experience the more opportunity you have to find something that will fill you with passion, something that will enliven you from the inside out.
4. Pay attention. When your soul feels shaken, listen up. And follow through.
Passion does not have to be one specific thing. We do not have to answer “What are you passionate about?” with a social cause, our job, or our spouse. Passion can invade your life for short spurts at a time, and fill your soul with energy that fuels you clear into the foreseeable future. And I firmly believe that if we all took the time to let passion into our lives on a regular basis, our world would look brighter, our interactions would be kinder, and life would just be better.
You tell me:
What makes you come alive?