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Are You Willing To Suffer?

Have you ever heard someone make the vague yet popular statement, “I’m very passionate about this“?  It’s something that I feel like I hear a lot in today’s culture.

“I have such a passion for music.”
“Art is my true passion.”
“I’m passionate about seeing the lost reached.”
“I get so passionate when I talk about sports!”

Statements like these are made all the time, by all different types of people, especially people in our generation.  When I hear these kinds of things, I always look at the person speaking and think to myself, “Wow.  I love how they love this thing.  They seem to know what they truly want.  They seem to be pursuing it with their whole life, and that’s really cool.  Do I have something like that in my own life?

Have you ever done that?  Have you ever asked yourself what your passions are?  Have you ever asked yourself what ‘passions‘ in general are?  Have you ever doubted that you could be so dedicated to one thing, or so good at a certain thing that you’d be willing to give your whole life to it?

I think the question of our passions is one that plagues our generation more than we even realize.  Everyone wants their lives to make a difference.  Everyone wants to leave this world having made an impact.  Everyone wants to dare to be different, to be remembered, to be known, and to accomplish it all by doing something that they love.

Or is that just me?

Passion“, in the form that we’re discussing it, is more than just an emotion.  It’s something deep down inside each one of us.  It drives us.  It motivates us.  It helps to define our beliefs, and to determine our core values, sometimes without us even realizing it.

The word “passion” comes from a root word that literally means, “to suffer“.

To ask yourself the question, “What am I passionate about?” is to ask yourself, “What am I willing to suffer for?”

angelina-litvin-37702You don’t have to be good at something to be passionate about it.  One of my greatest passions is to see sex trafficking ended in our world within my lifetime.  The delicacies of how to go about that, or the technicalities of the best way to not only free those stuck in this bondage, but also help them along the road of healing from it, are not things that I consider myself to be an expert on.  In fact, they seem pretty overwhelming when I stand back and really take a good, hard look at them.  I don’t have a degree in how to fight this massive injustice.  I don’t have experience from being on the other side, where I myself am a slave to this cruelty.  I don’t even have a decent reason for something like this to burn so brightly in my heart and life.

I do, however, know that I am willing to use my life, as insignificant as it may seem, to go to war against this industry, to be a voice for the voiceless, and to see the influence of sex trafficking in our world shrink and shrink until it disappears completely.

Why, then?  Why do I feel this way about people I’ve never met and an industry I’ve never suffered at the hands of?  Because this passion is a God-given truth and belief that is at the very core of my being.  It’s something I’m willing to suffer for, and something that I know the Lord has called me to dedicate my life to.

Some passions, like this one, are God-given.  They are things that He hand-stitched into the very fiber of our being as He was putting us together.  They are there to drive us toward the purpose He has created us for, and to make the impact on this world that He has designed specifically for each of us to make.

Others are developed over time, through various life experiences, through what we may perceive to be good for ourselves, and through our personal beliefs.

As Christians, our passions should come primarily from our beliefs, rooted in biblical truth.  They should come from and align themselves with God’s passions.

Our passions are things that give us an anchor in the midst of a storm.  They provide a foundation for us to build our lives on.  They help to determine what is distinctive of us as individuals.  They help us to communicate what is important to us.  They shape our character.  They direct the vision that we have for our lives, and they inspire others to involvement.

quino-al-202391We have the freedom to choose our passions, and to change the ones we’re currently holding onto.  We are not slaves to other peoples’ values, and we are not captives of our past.  Once we choose them, we need to feed into them, or we will lose them.  This is our personal responsibility.  We also must remember that the only thing worthy of the focus of our passions is the glory of God, therefore we should make sure to focus them in the right direction.

Each of us have passions, and each of us should face the Lord and ask Him what those are.  Discovering your own passions brings self-awareness.  It helps you to know what you believe and why.  It helps you to identify and recognize the people and forces that have influenced you.  It gives you the tools to decide for yourself what kind of person you want to be.  It provides a way for you to become accountable.  And it sets you free from the pressure others might try to put on you to be passionate about what they are passionate about, or what they think you should be passionate about.  They are the tools you will need to go out and impact the world, to make that difference, and to become the change you’ve been longing to see.

So the next time someone asks, “What’s your passion?“, you don’t need to ask yourself if you have one or what it might be.  You can share with boldness and confidence, knowing that that thing that makes you come alive is part of what makes you who you are, and something the Lord wants to use in you to see our world transformed.

unnamed (3)Whether it’s Star Wars, classic rock, or coffee, Rileigh’s an unabashed nerd. She’s full of good stories and keen insight, and she’s deeply committed to those she loves, whether her friends and family or the Nicaraguan kids she’s grown to adore. Rileigh brings artistic skill, a passion for quality, and a willingness to work hard to our family. Her love for the Lord is deep and evident to those around her.

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