What Are You Passionate About?

When's the last time you took the time to stop and reflect on what you're passionate about? Do you know how important that is?

Life is too short to not be passionate about something. Maybe more than one thing. God has designed each one of us with our own special gifts, talents, stories, dreams, passions, etc. So when's the last time you stopped to think about those?

I think it's worth a shot. No matter how old you are or where you're at in your life. Life is too short to just survive. If we know Jesus, we should be the most passionate people ever. Life is so short. Live with a purpose, and live with passion. You don't have to live your life serving God at some mundane task or live your just getting by until you're dead. Because Jesus didn't just die so that we could have eternal life, but also so that we could live an abundant life here (John 10:10) and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). There are so many ways to reach people, so many different types of people to reach, and so many topics to reach people on. Isn't it amazing how God gets us passionate about certain ways to reach people, and certain types of people to reach, and topics to reach them through, for His glory! He created us for good works (Ephesians 2:10), and I'm so thankful He allows us to participate in His work and gives us opportunities to do that through the things we love and are passionate about.

In fact, the passions you have were probably given to you so that you could serve God through what you're passionate about.

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I remember earlier this year I had all these passions and dreams I wanted to act on the day I got them, and you know little ole impatient me, a week (or not even, ha) goes by, and I watch other people do what I want to do, and I think about all my dreams I haven't gotten to fulfill yet or the passions I have that I can't act on yet, and I get discouraged. I get discouraged quickly. And then I go right into doubts. Are these some OBSESSIONS I have that I'll just grow out of? Am I doing this just because other people are? How can I know if God is calling me to do something or it's just all in my head?

Then I saw this quote. When I saw it, it was like something clicked inside of me. And I knew that the things people would consider an obsession, the things that were always on my mind, the things that made me want to pray about over and over, the things that got me fired up whenever I talked or wrote about them. . . . None of those were by accident. Especially if they can all be used to give God the glory. (I say this because one time I talked about how your dreams and passions must align with God's will, and I used stripping as an example of something that would NOT be. So, people, I'm trusting you have discernment, and I'm also trusting that if the Holy Spirit lives in you, I know you will not have desires like stripping, because He will put desires in you that give God the glory. But just so we're clear on that. . . .)

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When something will lead you closer to God . . . lead other people to God . . . will give Him glory . . . and won't go away . . . but instead will keep coming back and give you a reason to get up, to be excited, and to keep praying over it . . . ? There's a very good chance you've just found your passion.

Serving God doesn't have to be boring, and it shouldn't be. He's given each of us our own personalities for a reason, because He has good plans for us to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). You can serve Him through your passions!

Oh, and here's that quote before I get going on a rant about my passion for having passions: "The things you are passionate about aren't random they are your calling."

Amen! Those things that get you excited and fired up and yearning to do something about . . . those things that can glorify God that He has laid on your heart . . . don't ever think those are random. God has laid them on your heart for a reason. Just because you can't act on them yet doesn't mean you won't ever be able to *note to self*.

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So what if you don't know how to determine your passions? It is really so simple. Don't make it complicated. Don't think about how logical or reasonable your passions are. Just be honest about what they are, what you feel God is laying on your heart, and pray over them until He removes them and replaces them with something better or leads you to do something with those passions. Don't ever give up on His timing *ANOTHER NOTE TO SELF*. Don't give up on your passions. Keep leaving them in God's hands. He cares about them.

To find out what you are passionate about, simply type on a new document or write on a new sheet of paper your answers to questions like these. . . .

What gives me purpose?

What do I love to talk about? (If you don't know, ask other people. I'm sure they will say there's always something you can't seem to shut up about.)

What are my hobbies?

What messages do I love to share?

How do I like to encourage people?

What are my favorite verses in the Bible? What are they about? What can I do to share them?

What do I love to learn about?

What would I change about the world?

What do others say I'm obsessed with?

What can I relate to?

You get the idea. Make a list. And then pray about each thing on that list. If you want some ideas, here's a list I just made. . . . I'll also add some details to a few to share how I learned I was passionate about these things, so maybe they will help you too. Share your list of passions with me, too!

I am passionate about...

writing stories // I simply couldn't stop writing stories. I love writing them.

telling stories //

sharing my personal stories //

sharing what I’ve learned about life //

being completely real and authentic // I've had to deal with a lot of problems in my life, and I've seen what can happen when somebody pretends their life is perfect and covers up the bad. Pain must be addressed, I learned that through my life, and it is only when we admit that we have pain and sin that we can ever heal from it. So since I've learned this, I'm passionate about other people learning this.

learning about suffering and the problems in our world // I get so upset when people are ignorant about how good they've got it, or they pay no attention to hurts other people have. I became passionate about this because of that.

learning about hope //

connecting with people //

encouraging people, especially people who have no hope //

prison ministry // A lot of people at my church do prison ministry, and their passion for it is contagious. I always thought they were what started my passion, and though they definitely fueled it, they actually weren't what started it. I read a local story about a crime that had horrendous effects, and it broke my heart. Ever since then I've been passionate to help people who appear too far gone and see beauty come from terrible situations. I've learned that if you think prisoners are too far gone to be saved or too far gone for anything good to come of their life, then you don't know God very well.

acting out your convictions and sharing them with others // I've always, always, always been passionate about being a light. It's just something that came to me. What is the point in having convictions if you don't live by them and share them? This passion also grew deeper as I got interested in prison ministry because so many people know what's right and think all these prisoners have done so much wrong, and I'm like, great, I'm glad you know what they did was wrong, but is that seriously all you're going to do? Whine about how people sin and yet do nothing to help people correct their lifestyles?

standing by your values //

unconditional love //

forgiving people // I saw a situation where forgiveness wasn't offered, and I saw a situation where forgiveness was offered. They were both about crimes, and they both took place at a sentencing hearing. The one with forgiveness offered made me cry and had such an amazing impact on this man's life (now he testifies about forgiveness and shares what happened at his sentencing all the time to share God's grace and mercy). The one with no forgiveness made me cry also, but only for bad reasons. It was ugly. It was depressing. And I don't even want to know what effects it will have on this person's life, even though yes, they are guilty. Hence the desire to go into prison ministry all the more. That is where multiple passions can even come from one passion, too. I've just seen how ugly not forgiving is. No hope ever comes from not forgiving somebody.

focusing on the big picture // I've learned life is too short to worry about things that don't matter in the end. Lots of your passions can come from what you've learned and wished others would.

living life with purpose //

remembering //

the importance of family //

miracles //

understanding people (psychology) // This is so interesting to me, and I love learning about it.

rehabilitating people (counseling) //

appreciating the little things //

setting goals // I've always loved to set goals; it's been so fun for me.

dreaming big and live your life in light of those dreams //

connecting with people via the internet // Also something I love to do. Lots of your passions will probably come from hobbies and what you've learned.

That's just a short (ha, I promise it actually is) list of my passions. And I want to know: what are you passionate about?

Life is short. Live for God. Live with passion for Him and His people. There's no greater joy than that. And . . . it's never too late to start living with passion and dreams again. As long as you're still alive, God is still fulfilling His {good} plan for you.

<3 Ashlee