Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Passion "Links"

I'll be keeping this posting very short as I'd like to point you to a great posting written up by someone else on the subject of passions. Susan forwarded me this link from a blog on Christianity Today (thanks, Susan!), and I would love for you to read it as well. Check it out here. If you have time, try to read the comments posted under the entry for these can hold many rich ideas as well. One of the comments holds a link to another blog called seedlingsinstone . I haven't thoroughly perused it, but it does touch on the topic of our desires and passions. I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on what you read...

One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.
— E. M. Forster


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tiny Seeds, Mighty Oaks

“Do you feel any of your passions/talents/gifts are not being used at all or wasted? Are they maybe on hold?” These were the questions we started to discuss last Friday. We didn’t get too far on the subject as conversation drifted towards other meaningful topics, but I’d like to share with you some excerpts from resources relating to this topic.

Katie Brazelton writes about our ordinary, everyday roles in life in her book Pathway to Purpose, “Once you begin to appreciate the treasure of today’s roles, we begin to experience the stress-reducing benefits of peace and rest. Once we believe that God values our today, we can stop looking for the greener pastures of more grandiose or broad-reach assignments. We can let go of all the things people say we should be doing. We can rest in the knowledge that every day (yes, every task) is locked safely in God’s heart. We can hold on to the dreams God has given us about the future without the pressure of having to make them happen right this second!1

“I believe that even in the midst of your ordinary routine, God reveals hints about what he’s called you to do. The Bible tells us that “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other,” so God has already blessed you with spiritual gifts, skills, talents and natural abilities. Whether you are able to teach, lead, feed, draw, sing, build, analyze, research, motivate, organize, write, or something else, God will provide situations to use those gifts to further his kingdom. That’s why Scripture admonishes us to use our gifts in accordance with the grace God has given us.

Your daily roles are incredible opportunities for you to use your natural and spiritual giftedness to help your family, friends, and neighbors learn about and become more like Christ. God breathed those traits into you purposefully to help you share his message in your everyday world. When you dedicate your heart and giftedness to work in concert with God’s current roles for your life, you may even begin to hear yourself say, “Life is good. I’ve never had such a sense of fulfillment. Thank you, Lord, for giving me such important tasks. How have I found such favor with you?”1

And on a completely different side of the same coin, could your gifts be getting “in the way” of serving God? Here is another perspective of using our God-given gifts along with some cautionary/instructional words from the commentary I’m reading through right now. The author writes about Moses’ calling from God to lead His people out of Egypt.

"If you wonder how you can serve God, how you can be used by Him, take a look at what’s in your hand. God gave you gifts when you were born simply waiting to be activated when you were born again. You’re already doing that which He will energize and empower for ministry. What’s in your hand? A computer? A hammer? A basketball? That’s what He will use for His glory."2

Exodus 4:3 refers to Moses’ staff: "And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it."

"You may be an accountant, a carpenter, or a surgeon. God says, ‘Throw down your occupation, your profession and see what it is in and of itself: It’s a snake. If you’re living for it, if you’re all caught up in it, if you’re depending on it, you will be bitten by it.’ The same holds true – maybe especially true – with regard to ministry. Moses had been a faithful shepherd for forty years. Here, God makes it clear that nothing could compare to an empty hand lifted and open to Him. It’s as if, at the outset of the monumental ministry to which He was calling Moses, God said, ‘I must be your passion – not service for Me, not your talents and abilities, not your spiritual gifts. Nothing must take the place of an open hand, an open heart to embrace Me personally.

Maybe you’ve been forced to throw down some skill, some calling, some position you were good at, gifted for. Don’t despise this, for now you can say, ‘Lord, now that I don’t have that in my hand anymore, I’m rediscovering it’s not doing something for You that I crave, but simply You. I’m not looking for an opportunity to exercise my gift or to be used in ministry. I’m just looking for more intimacy with You. No wonder it had to be pried out of my hand. I get it. It’s a snake.’ And once you understand this, you’re in a position to pick it up once again…”2

My first and foremost purpose [is] to get to know God intimately and to learn that I had value because He created me, not because of what I could do.1

Let’s not despair that some of our gifts are not apparently being used; God would never gift us with special talents and abilities and then never use them for His glory. At some point in our life all of our gifts and abilities will be used though we may have to practice much patience before then. Some gifts might only be used at the right time for the right situation/people in our life. How sad it would be if our gifts were used at the wrong time and were completely disregarded by others or even pointed people to ourselves or others rather than pointing to God. Our passions are ultimately to give God glory whether that’s in showing others Christ’s love and serving others or being able to glimpse God’s goodness by personally reveling in the gifts He’s given us. So if you fear that one of your gifts will never come to fruition or accomplish a certain goal of yours, just remember your gifts and dreams are nothing in your own hands. God can take any and all of our abilities, passions or dreams and do far beyond anything we could imagine with them, if we just let Him. Our gifts and passions may just be in the “seed stage” or even lying dormant under ground, however God is the One who creates mighty oaks from them.


1. Excerpt from Pathway to Purpose for women by Katie Brazelton
2. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament: Volume 1 by Jon Courson.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What am I passionate about?

When I start thinking about the things I am passionate about, I feel like I am about to describe the person I “used to be.” Since our son was born two years ago, my husband and I don’t do a lot of the things we used to do and our life is very different. I know it is not unusual to put some adult fun stuff on hold while you wait for your children to grow up, but it is funny trying to think of the things I am passionate about doing RIGHT NOW. Here are some of the ways I have adjusted my activities to keep doing the things I enjoy.

I am passionate about the outdoors. I love to do things outside. I used to hike, kayak, mountain bike on single-track trails, rollerblade, and go boating – a lot. Now, I don’t. I am sure I will do those things again someday. Right now I get to do different things that I love to do - like play in the snow or dirt, go exploring and take long walks, find fascinating rocks or sticks and get lost in the great big world of the back yard – at least until we get too cold or nap time intervenes.

I am passionate about art. I love to paint, draw, create and take photographs. I don’t create the oil paintings, clay sculptures or charcoal drawings and things that I used to. But, now I draw with chalk on the driveway, use washable markers and crayons on paper and paint with washable paints. We haven’t been to many exotic places lately to take cool pictures, but I do take an awful lot of pictures right here at home.

I am passionate about cooking. I love to cook. Some days, I don’t love cooking dinner because I feel too tired or uninspired. But, the love for my son and the desire for him to eat a healthy meal (and my sense of duty to please my hard-working husband with something tasty) usually snap me out of it and give me passion to cook – at least enough to get dinner on the table!

I am passionate about work. I love to work. I love working hard and accomplishing things. I love working in the garden, reupholstering or refinishing furniture, building things with my hands, writing and seeing the results of working. I have had many jobs where I didn’t love working – mostly due to disrespectful, micromanaging bosses. But, what I realize is that it wasn’t the work that I didn't like, it was the psychological baloney.

I am passionate about my “new” job. I used to work as a small business consultant and I loved it. Now, I work as a stay-at-home mom. And, I love it. I do miss adult work conversations, meeting challenges and helping other people realize their dreams. Of course I miss that. But, there are a lot more things I love about staying home, and that makes up for it.

I am passionate about being a wife, mom and taking care of our home. Some days, I could do without the part where I do the laundry, clean the house, do the dishes, go grocery shopping, go to the dump or cook dinner, but other days, it’s not so bad. Besides, I would have to do all that stuff anyway – just not quite so much of it.

I feel very blessed to be able to stay at home with my child. I hope we are blessed with more children so I can stay home longer and do more of this mothering stuff. What I do is fun, challenging, creative, and a lot of hard work. It’s the best job I ever had.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Evolution of Passions: Before and after children

Hi all,
Kim here. What am I passionate about?

I enjoy cooking. My passion is healthy and tasty, medicinal, or anything with dark organic chocolate. Well, I used to love cooking until there were two little ones to tote to the store for that one ingredient that was missing from the new recipe I wanted to try. Then there are the multiple skirmishes to break up and mediate when I didn’t see who did what that leaves me wondering if I have added the salt or baking powder yet. I definitely have something in common with Michelle here except the driving force was not my daughter’s health, but my own. Through lifestyle changes I’ve seen cancer, multiple miscarriages, chronic sinus and bronchial infections, and arthritis cured without any drugs or surgeries.

Truthfully, I even like cleaning or, that is, the results of cleaning. The sense of satisfaction from an orderly and peaceful home that I don’t hesitate to invite others over to for hospitality. Well, I used to like cleaning until the baby/toddler factor was added. You know, the four hours of sleep, the four extra loads of laundry per week, the diapers that leak or that mysteriously fall off when soiled, or the feeding trough of crumbs for any living insect in your house that is conveniently filled three times a day under the kitchen table. Yes, after five moves in seven years of marriage and two toddlers, I am now more passionate about teaching my little ones good habits so my feeble cleaning efforts don’t get undone in five minutes.

I love sharing good news with others. Oftentimes this is with perfect strangers. It is so exciting to witness the new birth of faith in someone who for the first time understands the universality, narrowness and simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is universal in that all sins of all people are paid for so that all can go to Heaven and know God personally. It is narrow in that only sinless blood is sufficient payment for sin. I have yet to meet someone who thinks they are perfect. So we are all universally bankrupt. Think about how ridiculous and rude it would be to add worthless sinful currency of well meaning but sin-tainted works to the gracious payment in full that Jesus has already made. It is not sin or good works that determines if someone has Heaven and eternal life. Rather, it is one’s acceptance or rejection of Jesus who paid their sin debt that determines their destiny. God will not violate or rape our free will and force Himself, His Spirit of new life on us. However, since having children, my passion for evangelism has often turned toward Zachary (4) and Charis (2). Zachary first responded to the gospel at 23 months and I am so convicted and humbled by His faith and love for others. He is so uninhibited that he’ll sing out his own made up gospel songs to perfect strangers.

I delight in serving with my husband, Bill. We are such opposites in Spiritual gifts and temperaments that with God’s grace we make a strong team. We enjoy hosting and leading small group Bible studies, counseling couples, and just having people over for friendship, fellowship and fun. Since having Charis, we have cut back on external activities to direct our energies into investing in, and adjusting to, two mobile children. However, we are sensing that we are ready for more activity outside of family again.

I am becoming passionate about home schooling, not the arts and crafts of preschool, but I love seeing our children learn and learning along with them. This week we read about all sorts of animals and insects to avoid touching in the rainforest and tropics, that 100 divided by zero is undefined and impossible, and that a kookaburra is a kingfisher bird in Australia. Zachary reminds me often that Charis isn’t reading yet as if she is sick and something needs to be done urgently about it. He is determined to teach her, for she should have figured this out yesterday.

Lastly, I am passionate about Biblical friendships. Yes, it would be nice if you all liked to play a good game of volleyball or spades, but what is far more important to me is authentic, masks off, iron sharpening iron, Philippians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 27:6, gossip free and edifying friendships. This is why I like getting to know you all at Kajiji’s and it has been a refreshing blessing.
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