I had a conversation with a good friend of mine Monday night at Celebrate Recovery (CR). We got onto the subject of passion. No, I'm not talking about romantic passion, but a passion for what we do. I'd had a conversation with my Dad over the weekend about how sometimes it is hard to heed the call of ministry. There are times you just get tired, I mean, let's be honest. You do well in doing good, but it can be hard at times and don't you just want to sit sometimes and eat potato chips, veg on the couch and do nothing? Okay I'm the only one (ha ha!). But even in those difficult, weary times, I put on my name tag and head out the door. And usually, by the end of the night I realize why I'm there.
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. So what keeps things like my friend and I going? Besides the obvious answer, and that is God, who gives me the strength when I don't feel like I have any strength left, it is a passion for what I do. So what do I have a passion for? What do you have a passion for?
Well, CR is a big passion of mine. I get to see people who were where I was 8 years ago get it. It clicks. I also get to see people farther along than me in recovery and I get to glean from the wisdom they willingly share. I have a place (besides this blog) that I can openly share. The twelfth step talks about helping others as you've had a spiritual awakening. Well, that awakening is still going on. I still learn, grow, and yes, get corrected. It is a growing process. But I love helping people. I've taken some criticism for being TOO open with my struggles. What will people think? Same thing they thought of the disciples who followed Jesus. I use to be told that by telling my story I'd embarrass my family. Don't live in the past Paul, you've been set free! Move on! But they forget something. What about that person who is where I was 8 years ago? If I go up and say hey, I've been where you are, oh, but I can't talk about the past, but promise me it get's better, what do you think they are going to do? Besides, when my Mom emailed me and said I was the spokesperson for the family in this area, didn't sound too embarrassed to me. In fact, I can't tell you how many times this weekend my parents told me how proud they were of me, how far I'd come, and, this is the best part, the peace on their face. My goodness. The smiles, the laughter, the love...that is the fuel for my passion. I loved the encouragement, but the real reward was the contentment that my Mom and Dad had. They can see God in my life and God gets the glory to where I'm at in my life. It's all God.
But sometimes, passion or not, we get tired. So how do you stir the passion again? Remember why you have a passion in the first place. I have a passion for Ginger (both romantic and otherwise). I love her more than my own life. She struggles with anxiety, and I standby her, help her, support her, love on her. I don't do this because I feel obligated, but because I love her and want to help her. Marriage is hard work. You get out of it what you put into it, like planting a seed and watching it grow. Ginger and I communicate really well. We love on each other. We encourage one another, correct each other (yes, in marriage you will inevitably do something that will drive your spouse insane). But when her anxiety is bad do I just give up? Tell her to deal with it? Seems like that is what most do. I choose to put aside what I'm doing and help her. Sometimes all I can do is hold her, and sometimes, that is all that is needed, to know your not alone. Sometimes it takes listening. Real listening. Yes, I know, your favorite show is on, it's the finale, and your wife needs to talk. What is a husband to do? Well let me ask this, will you be in bed with that TV show later that night? Look, it's happened to me. And what I found is I can go on the internet and find the show and watch it later. What's more important? And a complete bonus is when we go to bed happy, well, my parents read this so I better stop! The thing is I never forget that fire of love that burned in my heart that very first time. It is stronger now, deeper, more mature, but that first moment of love will last me a lifetime. I tell Ginger every day that I love her, that I'm thankful for her, and that I'm thankful for God putting her in my life. That keeps the passion going. The touch of her hand on mine still gives me sparks. When you are thankful, it makes a big difference.
Kind of babbling here, but I haven't blogged in a week and I have a lot to say. I also have a passion for drawing. I've drawn some pretty difficult pieces, where people have given me three photographs to combine into one and actually changed what they were wearing. When it get's difficult do I quit? No, sometimes I put it to the side and get my perspective back, and then revisit it. Sometimes I just persevere. Life is like that. I tried quitting life, God wouldn't let me. Every breath is in His hand. But I don't just draw anything. Ginger is my favorite drawing subject (that is not rocket science), but every drawing has a story. And when I actually agree to draw, I put a piece of me into it. From drawing my grandparents, my parents, Ginger, etc, I love what I do. From loved one's (I have pictures of a drawing I did with three children from three different photographs) to even a dog. I have a passion.
And, the best for last, I have a passion for God. I have been forgiven of all my sins, and just like my namesake, I feel at times I've been the chief of sinners. But I am a child of God. He loves me, and tells me each day He loves me. I'm so thankful for how He reached into that pit and pulled me out. He protected me, and still does. Through all the trials, He was there, many times carrying me protecting me from myself. And when I begin to feel that my walk with God is getting stagnant, He calls me back, I get in His Word, I pray, I begin to look around and see all the wonderful things He has done for me, and it brings me out of the stagnation. God is good, He never gives up on me, and I'm living proof that God can take a depraved sinner and turn Him around. I've talked to more than one person who's heard my testimony and said, "That could not have been you." Yep, it was me. Not anymore, but it was me. And only God could have saved me from myself, understand that, only God could have done it. So there is a huge thankfulness to God!
So the point of this blog? What is your passion? Is it quilting like my mother? drawing like me or recovery? reading autobiographies like Ginger? Has your passion waned? If so, be encouraged, your not alone, just go back and remember why you had the passion in the first place and you may find new found strength to continue.