This past weekend I attended a wedding. My family celebrated as one of my younger sisters tied the knot. As I sat on the second row taking in the ceremony I was reminded how much my outlook has changed regarding the concept of passion…
We will probably all agree that passion is a measure of the heart. It has to come out of the heart, you cannot conjure it up any other way. If you try and fake passion it doesn’t really fool anyone.
But how do we define it?
My view is that passion is one of those things that is difficult to put into words but we all know it when we see it. Where passion exists, there lies the real person. This fact gives me great hope and shuts down my shame. The reason I say that is I am a very passionate person. That is not to say that my passions have often times turned into obsessions and been misguided along the way. But the very fact that amidst the darkest times of my addiction, I was still somehow able to find something real, something worth living for – is in and of itself a miracle.
I would define passion as “The willingness to lovingly walk through pain and loss for something or someone because what is gained is greater than what is lost.”
You may or may not agree on that definition and honestly I really don’t care because this is the truest definition for me and it’s what speaks to my heart. But given this definition I look back at my life with a certain amount of grief and sadness.
I regret not grabbing hold of this definition earlier in order to save those relationships that would eventually be lost. Though I live my life with this definition in mind, I did not always live it this way and allowed my addiction to put out a lot of the passion I had for others. My passions morphed to be inwardly focused, they turned into addictions.
I had no passion to change. My anger toward the disease went away. Fear trumped it all.
I loved the idea of changing and hated what I was doing but unfortunately I didn’t think that by losing the addiction I would gain something greater. Saving my marriage, job and (as I see it now) my life was not worth it.
That is the real tragedy of my life.
The hope is that I have been reborn. There is new life inside me thanks to my recovery and a new passion for life. I had to start questioning every motive in my life to realign my heart to where I am living a full and passionate life as God intended.
Why do I teach?
Why do I travel?
Why do I coach?
I have proclaimed to everyone that these are my main passions. Admittedly, over the course of the last 2 years, I have felt differently about all three. I have found myself questioning my desires and motivations among these areas. That has been scary for me. How can I have any doubts about the things of which I am most passionate? What does this mean?
I think it means that my passions has been more aligned with submitting to God’s will. For instance, I used to think that I HAD to coach basketball in addition to teaching so unless a school could guarantee a coaching position then I did not want to work there. Now my passion for education has risen so that coaching has become a “bonus” opportunity but I don’t NEED it to survive like I once did. If I don’t coach, it will not be the end of the world. It may actually be God stepping in and giving me a break or directing me to something else that He has for me. I am okay with that and it’s an incredible and freeing feeling to admit it.
My passions now are:
My relationships – including God.
My desire to help transform others.
That’s it. I’m not passionate about food, alcohol, sports, travel, work, etc. I am not passionate about them because I am willing to lose them. I am only passionate about those things that are so important to me that I would die for them. I would willingly face pain and anguish so that I could continue doing those things. My recovery may look a little different after moving to Kuwait. My relationships may come and go over the years. I may not always be able to coach.
But I trust that God will allow for my passions for these things to continue until the end.