Friday is almost here! The weekend. Finally. But this weekend for a handful of us, is not about rest, relaxation, and laundry. It’s about passion. Easy…not that kind of passion 😉 We are preparing to host ten youth on an experience called “Lead Up”. Lead Up is an intentional weekend where youth learn a framework for turning ideas into action. And it’s not just any idea. It’s the idea that burns inside of you, that may keep you awake at night, that inspires crazy dreams, that will not go away.
I read through several other blog posts on finding your passion. Some were pretty good with 6-7 easy steps. Sometimes when I look through a list, I ask “what is missing?” There was nothing about ministry, serving others, or a reference to using passion to right the wrongs we see in the world. It was all self- driven, self-motivated and mostly contextualized around career motives. That’s not bad. It’s just not complete.
We are helping youth find their passion regarding what is broken in the world. Nehemiah is a story nestled towards the end of the Old Testament with an incredible storyline. Pregnant with passion, conflict, and prayer, it unfolds a story of heartache, vision, and restoration. Passion gets the movement rolling. I will not retell the story here so go check out Nehemiah. But here are a few thoughts:
- What problems do you want to solve or believe need solving? Passion is about sensing broken relationships that emote a deep longing to see them righted. It’s always about relationship in this context. People or creation being abused in some way: human sex trafficking, lack of decent housing, child abuse, animal abuse, girls prohibited from going to school, pollution, exploitation of workers, or racism. The list goes on.
- What is your understanding about God and His created world that helps you understand a “righted” vision? God created in perfection. God created and called it good. God created with all things in proper balance. (See Genesis 1). Fall and sin distorted relationships and perverted the balance (Genesis 3). If justification is keeping items in proper order, keeping them aligned to a standard, then when we see abuse and distortions we can find the purity of the word “justice”. Passion becomes the burning desire to make things right. To restore to the original design God intended.
- Passion is linked to conversation with God. In many ways, whether we recognize it or not, we are working with God, co-creating with God, partnering with God to restore; to make all things new. We are supposed to do something in the waiting period of Jesus’ return. And it has to do with using our talents and not exploiting other people. (Remember the parable of the talents, the workers in the vineyard, or the teaching about the thief coming in the middle of the night?) Our prayers and conversations, if we are open, can lead us to a lifestyle brimming with work towards making our world, in our limited time, look like what God intended.
There really are not any easy steps. I left out a few here of discerning passion to keep this relatively short as there volumes of books lining our shelves on this very topic. But let me condense one more time:
- What do you see wrong or unjust in the world, that you believe should be changed? What keeps you awake at night, makes you angry, or makes you hurt for someone or something else?
- What is your vision of what “right” looks like? What is the God vision that corrects that injustice and distortion?
- What prayers and conversations do you have with God and others who you can partner with that together can restore the injustice? The Holy Spirit will open our eyes and our heart if we listen.
Nehemiah heard about the wall of Jerusalem that had laid in ruin for 152 years after the exile of the Israelite nations. It made him weep, pray, and fast- as in not eat for several days. It eventually led him to travel to Jerusalem and through God’s help, establish a vision to repair and restore the protective wall around the city and rebuild the community. But it was that passion, a burning desire to restore, that became the launching pad for action and movement.
We have 10 juniors and seniors in high school coming to discern their passion and act this weekend. It will be a weekend burning with passion and a desire to restore. I hope you might do the same!
And just for fun, here is a little quiz I found about passion. Very easy and some fun perspectives: