Do you ever feel like you have so many things that you would like to do that you don’t know where to start? You have so many passions vying for your attention that you can feel overwhelmed and wonder which ones should take priority. How can you manage them all?
If you do, then you and I have this in common. I struggle with it all the time, so I thought it might be helpful to blog through a process that might help to sort it out.
The first step, for me, is to simply name your passions and briefly explain why they are so important to you.
- I love God. That may sound trite and/or self-righteous, but for me, it is simply true. I believe that God is the giver of all the passions listed below. This is not a self-absorbed question, this is a stewardship question. If God gives us these passions, then how do we attend to them all in a way that honors God?
- I love my family. I made a vow to my wife in 1989 that I would love and cherish her through thick and thin, better or worse, until the day I die. We have four wonderful children together and I have a passion and responsibility to protect and provide for them as best I can until the day I die.
- I love to create art. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. I knew I would be a professional artist when I was in fourth grade. I can’t not draw, paint, or animate. I’ve tried…I can’t.
- I love to learn. The universe is interesting. I want to know everything. I can’t help it. I got a Ph.D. and it was SO MUCH FUN!!!!
- I love to teach. One of the best feelings I have experienced in life is that moment when the light bulb goes on in someone’s eyes because of something I led them to discover.
- I love to write. Words are magic. They create worlds. I love to write sermons, bible study lessons, film scripts, academic articles, and novels (I’ve written one novel, a second is almost finished, and I have seven more slamming around in my head).
- I love to be special. It’s true and I can’t deny it. I am a 4 on the Enneagram. My core need is to be special or unique. My root sin is envy. My ego message is, “I’m good if I am doing something unique in the world.” A fate worse than death is to be…average. NOOOOOOO!!! On a good day this spurs me toward innovation for the good of the world. On a bad day this drags me into the darkness of depression and self-loathing because I’m “just not good enough.”
- I love to share. I don’t like to hoard information. When I learn something, I love to talk, write, preach, teach, draw, and give it away. I think this is why I love the internet so much. I use WordPress because it is built upon an open source philosophy. It is a democratic, crowd-sourced resource that is free and powerful and liberating. That sounds like the Gospel to me. Remember: Sharing is Caring 🙂
OK, now that you’ve listed them out, what do you notice? Are there unifying themes? Are there some that fold into others? Are there some that get you more excited than others?
Here’s what I see in my list.
- Art, writing, teaching, and sharing are all closely related. They have to do with communicating to others.
- Learning is like the fresh water inlet that keeps the creativity fresh and vibrant and allows a constant flow of new ideas to communicate.
- My priorities are to use these passions to honor God and provide for my family. These two passions will keep the others from going off the rails.
I think this is why I blog. I often wrestle with my motivation for blogging and running this website. Am I showing off? Is it my fragile 4-ish ego that needs the positive strokes of responses to my blog posts and artwork?
On bad days, I have to admit that my blogging flows from these dark places. However, as I work through the exercise above, it reminds me that blogging is a no-brainer for me. Today’s technology allows me to learn on the internet AND share through various media! That’s a win/win.
Now, ask yourself: Is what you do with the majority of your day feeding those passions? If so, then praise God. If not, then you are probably slowly dying inside.
Here is where I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from John Eldridge’s book Wild at Heart.