What is your passion?
I confess that I love this question, but what saddens me is how often I hear people answer it by saying they really don’t know, or they aren’t sure they have any. I am puzzled by that because I cannot fathom how life is enjoyed deeply or pursued with focus if there is no passion.
Passion isn’t about extroversion or introversion because both can have passion. It is a strong emotion or intense desire or enthusiasm for something and it guides our choices and behavior. Too often we confine it to intense sexual love. Even though passion is clearly at the core of that part of us, we are selling it short if our view limits us to that perspective.
If my husband were chiming in here, he would say that I am passionate about nearly everything. I would likely chuckle, but also admit that I have strong feelings about more than one or two things and I most enjoy spending time with others who are passionate. The passion the other person has may not be my own but hearing them share about it and watching how it informs their choices and paths intrigues me.
You see I am persuaded that it is our passion that often defines us and tends to also define us as we are observed by others.
Sometimes the passion of a person is crystal clear. You see it in the person who is a fan of a particular sports team. That person has all the gear with the team logos and NEVER misses a game (often traveling miles to see one in person). That person can tell you statistics that can blow your mind.
I saw it in a long-time friend where playing the piano was concerned. She had begun playing in childhood and mastered the keyboard by hours of practice each day that continued well into her senior years. She taught other students, played in a women’s symphony and a small string trio. One of my favorite memories was seeing her sit at her baby grand piano and play whatever work she was perfecting. Late in life she was still practicing several hours a day.
Those would only be two small examples of what might be an endless list.
You may be thinking that a passionate person isn’t one you would like to spend much time with. Sometimes it might be because you have difficulty relating to someone whose passion is not your own. I know someone like that. Her world is all about golf and tennis and she is bored to tears if someone’s passion is reading or music. Sometimes if we don’t enjoy a passionate person it can be because we don’t have a clear sense of a passion of our own.
I love passionate people and in truth find passionless people somewhat boring as they rarely have much to bring to a conversation.
Perhaps one of the reasons I so much love Peter (despite his bad rap as one of the Lord’s disciples) is because of the depth of his passion for the Lord. Yes, he was impulsive, could speak out of turn, and messed up in the courtyard when Jesus was being tried, BUT he was also passionate about the Lord.
Ever consider that Peter was the only disciple who followed Jesus after He was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane? He ignored the risk of those who seized the Lord and followed. It’s important to remember that when you recall his denial a bit later in that scene.
There is additional evidence that Peter wanted to be near Jesus.
Matthew 14: 27-33 tells the story of the storm that was terrifying the disciples when they were alone on the sea and Jesus was off on the mountain praying and gaining refreshing from his Father.
Jesus sees their fear and struggle and comes to them walking on the water. He calls out to them not to be afraid and announces He is the one speaking to them. When I read that I often wonder if the fear subsided right away or if they were still struggling as the waves crashed about them and the wind howled.
Here we see Peter’s response and some will say it is impulse and some will say it is faith that causes him to ask the Lord to confirm it is he by telling him to come to Jesus on the water. Sounds crazy, right? But look at that more closely. He already knew in his heart what Jesus could do. He had seen the miracles and walked closely with Him.
Here Peter’s passion defines him. He doesn’t try to sort it all out or consider the risk if Jesus tells him to come to Him, he just believes and wants to be near Jesus.
Eric and Kristin Hill describe this scene in The First Breakfast:
“Despite his own fear and confusion, Peter decides that being near Jesus is the safest place to be. And although the other disciples surround him, Peter is the only one in the boat to have the response. There is an unmistakable humility in the way that Peter is drawn to Jesus, and even more so, in the way, he says, ‘Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.’
Peter instinctively understands that it must be Jesus that calls him out. He recognizes that the power of stepping out on to the water has to be a response to the invitation of Jesus.”
But also passion!