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Monday, April 18, 2011

Passion Week: Part 1 of 2

This week approaching Easter is often called Passion Week.  Churches host Passion plays to commemorate, well, the Passion of Christ.  On The Wife of Leisure, I’ll be appropriating that term, and this week, for promoting one of my favorite personal philosophies:

The Convergence of Passions and Talents

We all have passions, and some of them are impractical.  If so, we might bury them and pursue something safe and society-approved.  We might throw ourselves into them and, like Tom Brady, avoid a fate in insurance sales.  We might sit around trying to divine God’s will through our feelings before we make a move.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress.  I yearned with the fire of a thousand suns.  I wanted to be the kind that is magically discovered while eating a sandwich on a park bench.  That would show that it was God, and not selfish ambition, I thought.  When that didn’t happen, I auditioned.  Then, when I finally got a great role and the film lost its funding, I developed this theory.

In brief: where your passions and talents converge, you have a responsibility to develop those areas so that you are primed and ready to be used by God where He wills.

To do this, you need to view your gifts and your passions objectively.  Ask some honest friends who are not your mother: am I really a great tap-dancer or is this better left a hobby?  Get honest about your motivations: do you love the electric guitar or do you mostly love the applause?  When you think you’ve narrowed things down, develop abilities and pursue opportunity within reason.  If your passions don’t lie in your current occupations, can you take night classes or volunteer in your desired field without quitting your day job just yet? 

I don’t know whether God wants to use me where I am, somewhere else, or both in time.  I do know that God doesn’t hand out passions or gifts arbitrarily or as a cruel joke to frustrate me.  So if I view my talents and desires as responsibilities and develop them to the best of my ability, I create an opportunity for God to be glorified.  If He chooses to use me in a way I didn’t anticipate, I'll still be golden because I'm viewing my life as a tool for His purposes; my skills and passions are not actually about me.  Plus, no matter what happens, I'll grow through this process, and perhaps that is itself part of God’s plan.

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