Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what this means. What does it look like to be passionate? How do you take those small ideas and make them into something grand and meaningful? Can your passions change?
I’ve got post-graduation blues. Meaning, I’ve had Big Dreams that I’ve been pursuing for a long time. I decided to attend school to fulfill them, and this is the plan I’ve always communicated to people when they ask what I’m studying and how I want to use my education. “Well, I want to _____ for _____ and I can’t wait! It’s going to be amazing.”
Now that I’ve graduated, I feel a little lost about my future. I’m unemployed – whaddup –and still not sure what kind of job would fulfill me. I’m not ready to jump into ministry, counseling, or social work after coming off of a draining year.
What I have wanted to pursue, now doesn’t seem to fulfill or excite me in the way I expected. And other things that have been small passions in my life are becoming more dominant.
My passions are changing. And right now I’m in the ambiguous arena of figuring out how to pick up these new ones, and decide what to do with the ones I’ve carried for so long.
1. Hold plans loosely. Making plans keeps us moving forward. Setting goals helps us make the most of our time here, and can pull us out of difficult situations to propel us into a better, more fulfilling future.
But it’s easy for us to put all our hope in those plans and goals. And when things inevitably change or look different than what we expect, we get disappointed and angry at God, ourselves, and people around us. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t pursue our passions, nor that we shouldn’t make plans for our lives.
But as we plan, we should walk faithfully with Jesus and keep our lives in his hands instead of our own. As we plan, we give up our desires and seek his instead. As we pursue our passions, we use them to glorify him more.
He sees our future and knows what’s ahead. Even when the future holds dark places, we must walk through it with Jesus or we won’t make it through well. We won’t be changed for the better, softened to love more, strengthened to challenge each other, and marked for his kingdom. Let us make plans, pursue our passions, and give them to Jesus.
We do this by being in prayer. By committing our skills, abilities, and passions to be used for his glory. This means sharing Jesus with others in our network of influence. It means being vulnerable about our difficulties, our sins, and our weaknesses, as well as our victories and joys with each other so that we can grow together. It means making wise choices for our future and our families. It means committing to a spiritual journey to become more like Jesus.
2. It’s okay when our passions change. I used to make fun of sayings like “changing life seasons” or “chapters”… but now I don’t care, and I thinks it’s a really great marker for how life really feels.
Life inevitably brings unexpected things our way, and that may mean we have to make changes in regards to what we pursue. This might stem from financial blessings or difficulties, illness, loss, moves, jobs changes, marriage hardship, or mental health decline. Whatever it is, different seasons of life bring unique sets of challenges.
For me right now, it’s that I graduated college and now have no idea what I want to do next. I’m still passionate about people, but I don’t know if counseling is the field for me. I’m interested in missionary work, but this doesn’t seem to align with both my husband and my future together, at least for now.
My biggest dream is to someday have a home with a big garden, kids running around, and hosting missionaries, students, bands, friends, and family in our home to bless them with a retreat from hardships they might be going through. Obviously, this one will take a long time to establish. With time, we’ll get here, but for now this one is just out of reach.
Instead, what I’m finding is that I’m falling in love with something new. Writing and reading. To be honest, I think I’m a terrible writer. I know I have a lot to grow in and work on. But I love it.
A long, long time ago, I used to devour novels and biographies. I used to write poems and stories, and journal about the things I was learning. As I entered school, these fell to the side because I didn’t have time or capacity to pour into these outlets.
Now that I have time on my hands, I’m doing them more. And as I pursue these, I fall more in love with them. My passions are changing. It makes me confused about the future, knowing it will probably look very different from what I was expecting. It makes me question what kind of job I should be looking for, at least until I see where this pursuit takes me. But all of that is okay.
3. Cultivate Newness. I think cultivating passion starts with chasing those things that make you happy. What makes you excited and invigorated. The things that you keep coming back to. Big or small, “if it’s still on your mind, it must be worth the risk.”
That’s where you’ll find me. Chasing those little things, learning as I go, wading into the uncharted and unknown, with lots of room to grow. Happily pursuing the things that I love and creating new passions that might offer clearer direction moving forward.
While I still want to pursue those Big Dreams in the long run, I also won’t be disappointed if my plans change and I don’t end up getting there, specifically. And I won’t be upset if God takes us in a different direction and sends us into something completely uncharted.
May we seek to align ourselves with Jesus and find the deepest joy in pursuing what he has for us.
What are you passionate about? How do you incorporate Jesus in your plans and goals for the future?