Are Passion and Purpose Compatible by Steph Beth Nickel

When Direction is Needed

Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t necessarily mean you should pursue it. But, conversely, that passion may be evidence of God’s call on your life. Discernment needed!

I used to refer to myself as eclectically interested and eclectically involved. These are still true of me. However, I’m learning the importance of niching down and focusing my attention.

Last year, I asked the Lord if I was to lay aside my writing and all related endeavours. As our fulltime church admin, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to do both well—and I did want to fulfill His purposes for my life even if my passions actually pointed in another direction.

There are times the Lord asks us to continue putting one foot in front of the other and He gently guides us in the direction He wants us to go. At times, we are barely aware of how He is directing us. At other times, His will couldn’t be clearer.

When Direction is Clear

This was the case when God led me to resign from my responsibilities in the church office and work from home yet again. While this change opens countless doors of possibility to pursue some of my many passions, I must still seek God’s guidance and fulfill the purposes He lays before me.

We all know that we’re called to do some things we wouldn’t describe as our passion—maybe even when it comes to writing. For example, I’m currently writing blog posts on a wide variety of topics that don’t particularly interest me. Would I want to be a fulltime copywriter? No. Did God bring this client across my path? Without a doubt. There is a purpose for these assignments, but I can’t say I’m particularly passionate about fireplace inserts and lawncare equipment. <grin>

Was I honoured to be brought on board as a writing coach to comment on students’ deep point of view homework assignments? I’m blown away that this happened. I’m helping other writers, and, in the process, my own writing is getting stronger. Purpose? Check! Passion. Also, check!

When Direction is Scriptural

As we fulfill the Lord’s command in Colossians 3:17, we will live out the purpose He has for us, sometimes in the pursuit of our passion. In the ESV, this verse reads as follows: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Will we always be driven by our passions? No. And that’s a good thing. Our passions can lead us astray. And, if like me, you’re multi-passionate, it can be tempting to take on far too much. Again, we need discernment.

But should we ignore those passions that line up with Scripture and just won’t go away? Also, no! Prayer and wise counsel are important when it comes to deciding what passions to pursue and when.

Thankfully, we can ask God for wisdom when it comes to the tasks He wants us to take on and those He would have us set aside. When we ask, we can trust that God will direct our steps.

I trust you will experience the joy and contentment that comes from following your passions as God leads, depending on Him for the strength to persevere with necessary tasks not fueled by passion and experiencing the assurance that you are living out your purpose.

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