Posts Tagged ‘passion’
Posted on September 29, 2011 - by Shari Barr
Every so often I go through a phase where I want to chuck the whole writing thing and ditch my dream of writing a novel for adults. I get frustrated when plot eludes me, my characters sound weak and boring, or that little voice inside me taunts, “You’re wasting your time. No one will publish this book, anyway.” And, as most writers know, there’s an easier way to get a paycheck. The reasons not to write go on and on.
Usually this feeling passes.
The last few months have been different. The story that’s been in my mind for over a year simply won’t fall into place. I played with the age of my protagonist, her relationship with the hero, and I switched story lines so many times, my daughter would ask, “Which version are you working on today?”
When none of the versions worked, I turned to God. “If I’ve completed my job as a writer and will never publish another book, please take away my desire and replace it with something else fulfilling.”
Though I’d asked God to take away my desire before, I had never asked Him to replace it with something different. Since He never took away that passion, I was convinced I was meant to write. Well, this time was different. The desire disappeared–just like that. I really didn’t care whether or not I wrote another word. But, no fulfilling replacement materialized, and it scared me.
For years, I had identified myself as a writer, and when the desire died, I felt lost and confused. Now what? I almost backed out of my commitments with the ACFW conference, but I decided to go ahead with my plans, asking God to spell things out for me in St. Louis.
In the weeks before the conference, little signs popped up every now and then. I caught a portion of the back of a stranger’s t-shirt that read “Quitting is easy…,” and a woman commented on our blog about a style of book she would love to read (and which I’ve dreamed of writing.) I was reminded of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty when he asked God to show him a sign about the fate of his career. Signs popped up as Bruce drove along—“Dead End,” “Detour Ahead,” “Road Closed,” and Bruce still didn’t get the message.
Were the t-shirt and the blog comment signs from God? I wasn’t sure.
So, I set out for ACFW with only a one-sheet based on my “version-of-the-day,” not even a sample chapter, to show editors and agents at my appointments. The response I received from a consultant, gave me my answer. The story inside of me is meant to be written. She suggested a better beginning scene and a place to end. Her enthusiasm and encouragement gave me the confidence I need to keep plugging away. It’s enough that she sees merit in my idea.
The speakers’ messages at the conference couldn’t have been more appropriate, either. Discouragement is the work of Satan—not God.
When God didn’t give me a fulfilling replacement for writing, I now know why. I am supposed to keep on writing—for Him.
Posted on February 24, 2011 - by Regina
I am a firm believer that finding your passions in life helps you to find out who you really are. A passion for God is essential, first-and-foremost, because without that over-arching passion for what He has done for us, what would we have to be passionate about?
So, what am I passionate about?
Over the years it has been different things. Different crazes for different phases, I guess you could say. Early childhood: reruns of Daniel Boone, anything Winnie-the-Pooh, and green corduroy pants. Middle childhood: Donnie and Marie Osmond, reading Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Little House, jeans with cool pockets, Disney. Pre-Teen, early teens: Shaun Cassidy, pierced ears, the colors pink and green, Disney. Teens: music, Romance novels, floorplans, making perfect biscuits, Disney.
You get the idea.
What am I passionate about, now? Besides my family and my God, I would have to say Relaxation and Romance. I like to experience it, I like to read about it, I like to create it. Some of the places I think are most romantic AND relaxing are the beach, and Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.
WHAT? The beach, yes, but DISNEY WORLD? Crowds of people? Crazy-long lines? People next to you on a ride who have no concept of space-awareness?
Can’t help it. For me, it’s magical. Since I have no realistic concept of what heaven will be like, WDW is my next-best-thing. I didn’t always think of it as a relaxing, romantic place, though. When I was younger, there was always that impoverished thought, “I’ll never get here again so I must see everything as quickly as possible!” Then as I got older, and started enjoying it with my own children, I stopped and realized just what went into making it a place I want to visit over and over.
- Extra care. The last day of our 2000 trip, we went to a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace, and had to arrive at the Magic Kingdom at 7:30, before the park was opened. Besides the lavish breakfast buffet, complete with Pooh characters (yes, I’m still passionate about Pooh), the thing that stands out were maintenance workers unobtrusively painting the curbs on Main Street, USA. These young ladies greeted people as they passed, but kept working calmly and neatly. It takes extra care to keep a park looking new all the time. Just like it takes extra care to keep romance alive in a relationship, extra care to keep the passion alive for writing, and extra care to keep our relationship with Jesus close.
- Beautiful surroundings. The flower gardens always amaze me at WDW. They’re perfect. That’s all you can say about it. Every spot on the property is lavished with care and attention to make things beautiful for their guests. This made me think about my surroundings, both at home and at work. When I have taken the time to make the bed, it’s a good feeling when I fold down the covers at night. When I get up and find that my husband has cleaned up the kitchen before he left for school, it makes me feel cherished. When we take care of our place of worship, no matter how plain or how fancy, I think it shows God and the community how important it is.
- A big dose of FUN. Face it. Walt Disney put together the “happiest place on earth.” Where else would I enter the gates of a theme park, hear “When You Wish Upon A Star” and get all teary-eyed? Yes. They were happy tears. My husband usually has tears, too, but that’s after closing his empty wallet. But I digress. Are you having fun with what you’re passionate about? I admit, sometimes writing is more fun than others. That’s the time I have to think about when my feet hurt at WDW. Sometimes you just plow through the pain with a smile, right? Same with maintaining a happy marriage or relationships with our friends. You have to remember that part of any relationship is enjoyment, and sometimes we have to work at it and ignore the negatives. Remember the good times, like when Goofy fell off the float during the Bicentennial Parade of 1976, or when your husband fell down the elevator shaft. But that’s another story . . . Just have fun!
So, take extra care with your passions. Be good to them, and they’ll be wonderful to you. Think about your surroundings. Do they help you maintain your passions, or do they distract you or put you off? And have fun. No matter what, have fun. If your passion doesn’t make you smile, what will?
I have two memories of Walt Disney World that cement, to me, why I love it, and why I smile when I think of any part of the place. With my oldest daughter, it was getting on the monorail after the evening fireworks. Four-years-old, she had a “Belle” figure clutched in her little hand. Before the doors had even closed, she was asleep, and the figure dropped to the floor. Oh, I picked it up, but she had insisted on carrying her “souvenir.”
With my youngest daughter, it’s sitting on a bench in Fantasyland when she was five. We were waiting for my husband and oldest daughter to get back from “Splash Mountain,” and we’d ridden “It’s a Small World” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh” yet again. We just sat there, not talking, her head leaning on me, watching people and just taking in the atmosphere.
It hit me, when I realized how much I love my girls, just how much God loves me, to give me experiences like this that make my heart sing.
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. 31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Romans 8:28-35
Don’t ever doubt that God is passionate about you, and has made you to be passionate about so many things, some emotionally moving, some fun. And if we can be passionate about such trivial things, how much more is He passionate about his own creations?
Posted on February 23, 2011 - by Brenda Anderson
What are your passions in life? What evokes powerful feelings in you? What do you prioritize?
For me, that’s easy: faith, family, books, and music.
Now, think back to when you first recognized what your passions were. If you’re like me, you can’t recall an actual aha moment.
My faith has always been important to me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe, although I do remember being mocked in high school for praying.
As for family, I was blessed with six brothers and sisters plus my paternal grandparents had a separate home on our farm. We did everything together. Including fight.
My bedroom was stocked with Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Three Investigator books (all of which I still have), and I always had a record album or 8-track (yes, I said 8-track) playing in the background. Of course I was singing along.
That’s what was important to me then, even with the minor trials.
So, is it any wonder that those are still the very things I care about today? But, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy road following those passions.
I’ve encountered many storms that challenge my faith, but God never leaves.
Growing up, my older sister and I fought constantly. Now, we’re best friends, as are our kids.
And writing? There’s nothing easy about it. Authors constantly climb literary hills and then a rock slide forces us back down so we to have to climb back up again. For the unpublished, rejection is a way of life, and we are inundated with the thought that we’re not good enough. For the published, there are many marketing and editing distractions that steal writing time, not to mention the stones people hurl in the name of review.
We must be crazy to pursue writing.
Don’t you ever wonder why God doesn’t free this road to our passions? Why can’t the road be straight, and the air clear? For once, why can’t it be easy to pursue our purpose?
Why can’t we just give up?
Because God set the ultimate example for passion. For His true love.
Over 2000 years ago, Jesus was born with a singular purpose: to die, taking all our sins upon Himself. He knew the road would be pockmarked with hate and rejection, that the very people He was dying for would hammer the nails into His wrists. He stumbled down the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Grief, the Way of Suffering, bearing a cross on His bruised, bloody, and disfigured back.
Jesus didn’t want to go through this, any more than you and I want to travel our difficult road:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
But, He did it anyway. Jesus fulfilled his purpose in an event now widely known as The Passion. Out of His great love for us, He pressed onward on that tortured road.
So, when I encounter the naysayers. When life’s circumstances whisper in my ear telling me to turn back, it’s not worth it to follow my passion, I’ll remember Christ’s passion and what He did for you and for me, and I’ll know that travelling that difficult path truly was worth the trouble.
Posted on February 22, 2011 - by JerriLynn
Turns out, passion is a tough topic for me. I think of myself as an extremely passionate person. I believe just as deeply as I feel, and for those things that are “important” to me, I could argue, cajole, and convince nearly anyone to see my point of view.
So, when the topic of passion came up, I had to put a lot of thought into what I wanted to write about. That thought, of course, eventually focused on the One who ultimately created this passionate mess that I am. What was God passionate about? And by extension, what was Jesus passionate about?
After a week of contemplation I can come to only one conclusion. The ultimate passion is Love. And not the “passionate” type of love that is portrayed in movies, books, and television shows these days. That sexually-charged excuse for passion is far off the mark of what true passion is.
Christ’s example of passion closely mirrors the Latin origin of the word. Passion (the word) is derived from the Latin “patior” which means to suffer or to endure, and also “compatible.” Christ suffered and endures to prove his love to us. Be he also set an example of how to be compatible with both the world and the people around us. It was through His passion that the teachings of a 30-ish carpenter have carried across centuries and yet can still create intense feelings, beliefs and responses in both believers and non-believers.
So, I asked myself as I started composing this, what am I that passionate about? Because I’m human, the answer is nothing. But there are a few things that I think might come close. My love for Christ is at the top of the list. I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m a screwball. I make more messes in my spiritual life…and yet I know that Christ passionately endures my mistakes. He allows me to try to take control (when I know that eventually I’ll look back at this mess and see his fingerprints all over the solution). He allows me to be me, to make my own choices, live my own consequences, and to bury my face in the sand before Him as I admit that if I’d only done it His way it would have been so much easier. And still he loves me. So, yes, I’m passionate about Christ.
I’m passionate about the world that we live in. There are times when I’m completely overwhelmed by the grace that God has given us to allow us to live on such an amazing planet as earth. When was the last time you just LOOKED at the world around you? Thousands of tiny fiddler crabs crawling over each other for a moment in the sun? The red, gold, grey, and black rocks that make up the ghosts of ancient oceans in the Mid-West? The billion stars that dare to show their light during the darkest nights of the year? Or the zillion grains of sand that line beaches and flakes of snow that immobilize cities? Each element and nuance is a gift from God. One that I don’t always remember to appreciate enough, so when I do stop to notice, I’d say YES, I’m passionate about this world.
I’m passionate about people, my family, feelings, and dozens of other things as well. But if I’m going to be completely honest, I’d have to say that I will never be as passionate as Christ is about love. He was willing to suffer. He was willing to die. All so that I might be able to somehow wrap my brain around the thought that He loves ME…no matter what. And that true passion? That’s something that I don’t believe is completely attainable for me, because only Christ could love so completely. That doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying. After all, I have an amazing example to follow.
Posted on February 16, 2011 - by Dawn Ford
A friend of mine once told me that you will find your purpose in life at the crossroads of your abilities (or gifts) and desires. Wherever those two converge is where you find your passion.
My husband John has always been in touch with his passion. It’s food. I’ve envied him for this, the knowing what his gift is. I do not enjoy cooking. I could be taught, but I would never have the instinct about flavors and textures my husband has.
I, on the other hand, have a love of words. I love the sound of them, the way the words work together to form stories, but I especially loved to write them. I’ve always known this fact, but it never seemed to be anything more than a fascination.
I worked for a local hospital business office in the accounts receivable department where one of the jobs I had was to note accounts of status—either the status of payment from the debtor or the insurance company. My co-workers would rib me for the length and detail of my account notes. When I worked for a Third Party Insurance Liability company I would get marked down because my notes were too long for the other agents to sift through and too tedious in their details.
I began to wonder if my love of words was a hindrance. No one seemed to fully appreciate it.
A couple of years later a friend and I were discussing how we could help other women to live a more abundant and fulfilling life. We had both overcome some situations in our own lives and saw how other women suffered but were unable to break out of the cycles that led them to be miserable. I had to do something.
Using resources and books, I put together a women’s study that outlined why I believe people live a defeated life and how to move beyond what we know and understand to being able to live a more glorious life. I have notebooks full of detailed notes that I took when researching the subject. My writing notes obsession crossed with my desire to reach out to other women.
It was so easy. I’d found my crossroads.
The funny thing is that I wasn’t out searching for the purpose of my life, I was just doing what came natural. I had actually been doing it all along, I just hadn’t realized it. Since I have come to the understanding of where my crossroads is, I have been working to grow these talents of mine. They have expanded and grown in the last three years. I wouldn’t be able to stop now even if I wanted to. It’s a burning desire that is matched with an lengthy ability to put words down on paper.
My purpose. My passion.
Posted on February 15, 2011 - by Shannon Vannatter
“Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
Last spring, I had my book launch party for White Roses at the Romance Waterfalls. It was too hot to actually have it at the falls, so owners, Buck & Brenda Weatherly graciously opened their home. My husband went with me, kept the coffee flowing, corralled our eight year old, and visited with our church members who came. It was an awesome day. I sold out within ten minutes and our church members ended up giving me their books back, so I could sell them to other people, and replace their copies later.
As the day came to a close and only a handful of friends and family milled about, I thought about how important the Romance Waterfalls is to my books. In the series, a proposal and a wedding takes place there, and a couple draws closer together at the falls. All of my characters have had romantic or important moments there. I decided that my husband and I should have a romantic moment at the falls too. I grabbed my friend, Linda and her camera, and then my hubby.
“Let’s go down to the falls and let Linda take our picture while we kiss.”
Hubby jumped up. “Sure.”
Wow he’s excited, I thought.
We took the long, humid walk to the falls. Me, in my white skirt and satin shoes, him in shorts and tennis shoes. We stopped on the balcony where couples get married. I snuggled up.
He wouldn’t even put his arms around me.
“Come on.” I snuggled closer.
Linda cleared her throat. “Okay, guys. Let’s not get carried away.”
We moved down to another balcony overlooking the falls, kissed again and got a few more shots. We trekked back to the Weatherly’s house, visited a bit longer, loaded the car and left.
Later, when I got the pictures from Linda, I asked, “What was with the no hands thing?”
“I was so uncomfortable.”
“I’m not used to getting my picture taken while I kiss my wife. It wasn’t very spontaneous.”
“But you didn’t hesitate when I asked.”
“I didn’t want to make you feel bad.”
So, my PDA shy husband/pastor posed for the camera, even though it made him uncomfortable. Now, that’s true love.
God has given me the desires of my heart in a wonderful Godly husband, a phenomenal son, and my books in the hands of readers. I thank him for my blessings too numerous to count on a daily basis.
Just for fun, tell me what you remember about your first kiss with your spouse.
Posted on February 12, 2011 - by Regina
What are you passionate about? What excites you?
In Psalm 37:4, David writes, Delight yourself in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”
In the next two weeks our Inkspirational writers will address this issue from many perspectives. I can’t wait for my turn, as this is one of those verses I claimed as a promise from God long ago! One thing I do know? God is passionate about YOU!
AND, if you’re passionate about chocolate, check in tomorrow to see the winner of the delicious box of Fannie May candies!