Have You Been Able to Find Your Passion
Are you one of those lucky people who found your passion early on? I sure wasn’t! It took me a long time to focus enough to find my passion. In 3rd grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. On Halloween, I wrote a story about a wily wicked witch. It received great acclaim from my teacher and the pride I felt from forming words into a story filled me with joy.
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At 11, in my 6th grade speech class, I had my first taste of talking in front of a group. Having each person listen to my thoughts and ideas made an impression on me. I love to talk. It made sense to talk to a captive audience. That way, they couldn’t run off if they didn’t like what I had to say.
My junior year in high school, my English teacher asked me to represent our school in a writing competition at an interscholastic meet where high schoolers from all over the state would compete. “I don’t write English good,” I told her. She corrected me, “You don’t write well.” “See!” I told her. We laughed, but I meant it.
Not many years had passed since my younger childhood dreams of writing and speaking, but already my lack of confidence had begun to cause me to question myself and my abilities. I went on to that competition, completely made up my descriptive essay, and placed 3rd in the state. You’d think that would help my confidence grow and that I’d continue to move forward, but no. I beat myself up over the fact I hadn’t won. Yep, I never thought I was ‘good enough.’ Sigh.
I write about passion and purpose quite a bit because it took me so long to discover my own. It always seemed so easy for everyone else, or so I thought. As I began blogging and writing about my faith at Loving Christ Ministries, I learned through readers’ emails that many women didn’t know their passion. In fact, some did not believe they had one.
I’d been there, too.
Doing What Was Expected Instead of What I Felt Passionate About
I think many can relate to my story. Growing up, I always just did what I was ‘supposed’ to do and while that didn’t typically make me miserable, it also never provided true joy.
Two factors kept me from pursuing goals I felt passion about. First, I was a people-pleaser and wanted to make everyone around me happy. Second, I lacked confidence in myself and my choices. If anyone questioned my decisions, I immediately backed down and asked them what they thought I should do instead.
I spent so many years going through the motions of life that when I finally understood living joy, I became determined to share with everyone. The journey began two days after my 35th birthday. My best friend died, and I started on a spiritual pilgrimage that led me eventually through an understanding of life, living, and purpose. I had to first discover who I am, truly on the inside before I could venture further and find true courage and confidence in myself.
Once I understood the light within me, within all of us, I was able to give myself permission to do more than just get by. It became okay, preferable even, to do the things I found true joy in. Pursuing passion doesn’t mean we’re selfish. It’s the very opposite, actually. Through our passion we find purpose, and purpose comes from what we do for others.
Don’t get me wrong. even before I understood passion, I still found plenty of happiness in my life – my family, my friends. I’ve always had a stable, secure job and there’s definitely something to celebrate in that. I’ve tried to always appreciate everything I have. But I lacked that ‘excited to get up out of bed and go to work’ motivation that comes when you live your joy.
Does that make sense?
As we become adults and fall into the responsibilities and the busyness of our lives, I think our dreams and desires frequently get shoved to the side. We give these reasons:
- I don’t have time
- It’s not practical
- Too many people are counting on what I’m doing already
While we can’t all necessarily make a living from what we’re truly passionate about, incorporating our passion and joy into our lives is what constitutes truly living our purpose and not just existing as we plod through our days.
How to Focus and Find Your Passion
Here are 5 ways to focus and find what you’re passionate about. Be sure to print off this free worksheet, too, so you can focus and follow along with each step of the series.
- Revisit your childhood – Think back to when you were little before the busyness of life, the need to make a living, took over. What did you want to be when you grew up? What did you love to play when you played make believe? Are you still interested in any of these activities? Do you do them now? Can you add them to your life?
- Slow down in your crazily busy life now – Do you fill your time with stuff? Do you go and go and go so that instead of taking time to feel joy and to know where your happiness is on the inside you ‘never have time’ for yourself? Take time for prayer and meditation. Ask God for direction. Trust what He tells you in your quietest moments.
- Make a creativity board (or like me, a Pinterest board) – Either on poster board or through Pinterest create a place where you can fill it with all of the things that bring a smile to your face. Cut out pictures from magazines or write in the words or Pin the images of all you love – families? God? Writing? Scrapbooking? Photography? Health and Fitness? Traveling? What things are on your board? These are where you’ll find your passion.
- Change Your Story – How do you identify yourself? Mother, wife, sister, friend? Teacher, accountant, retailer, doctor? Reader, runner, writer, tennis player? Are these identities how you want to be known? What else would you like to add to your list, to YOUR story? Who do you want to be? If there are any you don’t like, strike them out. Change your story. You have that control. It is okay to do that.
- Push Past Your Fear – We can’t offer to the rest of the world the best us if we’re too scared to change, if we’re too scared of judgment, if we’re too afraid we’ll fail. Each of us is an incredible being made in God’s image. When we know that, we can give ourselves permission to go after our dreams.
Work through each of these tips to discover what truly excites you, motivates you, and fills you with joy. While you might be able to drop everything to pursue your passion immediately, you’ll be able to start taking steps to incorporate it in your life a little bit at a time.