There are a few things in life that I love to do. I mean, I know we all have things we enjoy, but I’m talking about those activities that we absolutely love. The ones that somehow minister to our own souls and maybe, like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, cause us to “feel God’s pleasure”. Those things.
I have a few of them, and I suspect you do to. I won’t name them for you because surely yours are different from mine and this isn’t about mental comparisons of the activities themselves. But let’s just all agree that we have them and can identify them.
The question that rattles around in my head is, “Why do I rarely do them?” These passions seem lost in the everyday ebb and flow of my life. They are the things I love most, but can never quite get to. If you’re old enough to know who Jim Croce is, you know this isn’t a new phenomenon because “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them”.
But there are plenty of instances where I have the time, but still don’t make the effort. Surely there has to be something else at play. Here are three possibilities that keep me from my passions and a few reminders to myself on how to overcome them.
Help, I’m Drowning!
Overload and mental fatigue are likely my biggest deterrents to fulfilling lost passions. When there’s so much of life that I can barely keep up, and I finally have a quiet moment to myself, I don’t want to fill it with anything…even something I love. Maybe it’s stress or simply lack of motivation. It’s just too much effort to do one more thing. Being so overloaded that I begin to lose desire, even for those things I love, is a warning sign that I need to throttle back a bit. I need to alter my “full steam ahead” pace and slow down. Take inventory of your days. Is your stress load drowning you? Are you so exhausted that even the thought of doing something you love sends your circuits into overload? Make an effort to lower your pace and make space for yourself and the things you love.
Get it Right!
I often fall into the trap of thinking, “If I can’t do it properly, I’m not going to do it at all”. For those of us with perfectionistic tendencies, we don’t want to tackle our passions if we can’t do them properly or perfectly. So we sacrifice the whole thing and reassure ourselves we’ll get to it when we can “really do it right”. Don’t let perfectionism hinder you. You don’t have to devote all weekend to your passion. You don’t have to buy more gear before you can begin or watch hours of YouTube videos to make sure you have correct technique. Start small. Work with what you have and do it for a few minutes. Get started. Do what you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
No, No, No…After You!
As women, wives, and moms, we often give in to deciding that we will take care of everyone else’s needs, and if and when there’s any time left over, we can do something for ourselves. This way of thinking crosses a subtle line between loving and serving our families and falling into martyrdom. Hours turn into days that turn into weeks that we fill with the activities of others, but not our own. Maybe I’ll get to that on Saturday. I might have 10 minutes before bed next Thursday night. But those times never come because we continually fill them with our to-do list for other people. We tell ourselves, “After I finish taking care of everyone else, I will allow myself to do something for me”. But, we get tired and the passion gets lost, or at best, relegated to lowest priority. We’re afraid that by taking time to enjoying our passions, we’re shirking responsibility in other areas of our lives. Guilt creeps in, so we go back to serving to soothe our conscience. By all means, take care of the loved ones in your life, but don’t trick yourself into thinking that somehow you’re being a better person by always putting your own passions last. Martyrdom will leave you bitter, especially at those you are trying so hard to serve.
Whether your passion is a hobby, a relationship, or maybe even your walk with God, don’t let overload, perfectionism, or martyrdom be the reason you don’t follow through. God is the author of our desires and passions. He created them in us for a purpose and He is pleased when we properly put them to use for His glory!