What is Passion?
Passion for anything, including my work, my kids, and my husband, is misplaced if they exist as the focus and driving force behind that passion. That seems odd to say, but I think that’s because our definition of passion has gotten all mixed up.
Passion has several definitions.
- Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
- Strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
- Strong sexual desire; lust
- An instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.
- A strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.
The key with passion is what drives it. If passion exists because of the object receiving it, if it is driven by that object, it’s misplaced. If the driving force is anything but God, our passion will lead us down the wrong path.
Living for God means both that his desires direct our passion and that any passion he doesn’t desire is put to death. In other words, any fondness, enthusiasm, and desire we have must come from a focus on pleasing and glorify him, not satisfying our emotions or ego or fleshly desires in any way.
Scripture helps direct our passion this way.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)
We express passion through our attitudes, actions, and words. For example, our alacrity reflects the state of our passion in any given situation. In other words, how we live shows the focus and driving force behind our passions.
The question then becomes, is the passion driving my attitudes, actions, and words given and directed by God? Or is it self-generated and led by that which only satisfies my flesh?
Out of Balance
Inability to live as my God-given passion directs indicates imbalance in at least one area of life. Often, imbalance exists in multiple areas at the same time when my passion struggles for breath. Too busy. Discouraged. Fatigued. Frustration. Just to name a few.
All of these block my ability to live life with passion. When this happens, when you know God is directing you a certain way but your motivations won’t cooperate, pay attention. This usually happens because two things are going on, sometimes one at a time and sometimes both at once.
- An adjustment of some sort is needed.
- An opportunity for growth is presenting itself.
When I’m too busy, my commitments need adjusting and cleaning out. If discouraged or frustrated, my focus needs adjusted back on Jesus. Constant fatigue generally means I need to adjust something physically like sleep, exercise, hydration, and/or diet.
Focus and Source
When I first enter a season of adjustment and growth, I rarely recognize it for what it is. In fact, I usually look for external sources out of my control to blame. While such sources are likely a contributing factor, they are not the root cause.
The root cause always lies with some physical, mental, or spiritual source within myself. Often, it’s a combination of the three. Not diminishing external influences though, since they — Betrayal. Broken trust. Unemployment. Illness. Death. — definitely can contribute. Life certainly hands us plenty to knock us off kilter.
But our passion, if it’s focused on and sourced from God, can remain full and true regardless of circumstances. Sure, it will fluctuate because of the factors that influence it, but it can never be taken away when its source lies only in your Creator.
“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)