A Passionate Pursuit
Earlier this year, my wife and I sat down and had a discussion about the state of the household. We wanted to take a step back and look at the previous year while also looking ahead to the future. If you are married and have never done this before, I would recommend adopting this as standard practice. As we discussed what we had learned from the previous year and where we were headed, we both realized that in many ways we had become paralyzed. We weren’t necessarily in a bad spot, nor were we in a good spot; we were just in a spot.
My wife and I have always been very passionate people. We are both passionate about Jesus, the Gospel and how that informs our lives. My wife is extremely passionate about people and is one of those unique individuals who can have a five minute conversation with a stranger and walk away with a best friend for life. She also happens to be an amazing opera singer who is extremely passionate about music. I, on the other hand, have always been passionate about two things above all else: helping people who are suffering and...sports.
I know what you are thinking: suffering and sports don’t exactly mix, and you’re right. I am weird.
When my wife and I were preparing for marriage, we had a dream scenario in our heads in which we envisioned ourselves both living out what we were passionate about in unique and fulfilling ways. We saw a life that was extraordinary, a life that didn’t fit in a box, one that was wholly and uniquely our own.
Fast forward seven years to my wife and I and our four dogs, sitting together, looking back. We were looking back at years of marriage that included periods of great suffering. We were looking back at the deaths of loved ones. At health issues that changed the way we lived our lives. We discussed disappointment and hurt from within the church and myriad of other things that had just not gone the way we had planned.
Most of all we were both keenly aware that our passions in many ways had been lying dormant. How did we let them fall by the wayside? How had we become so worn down by the painful realities of a fallen world that survival mode had become our primary vehicle through life?
In some ways our circumstances dictated our realities and our passions simply didn’t fit in those spaces.
In other ways we put a self-imposed weight on ourselves by deciding that our passions simply weren’t “holy” enough to pursue.
How could I possibly pursue a passion for sports while still passionately pursuing Jesus? I decided that it just wasn’t possible and moved on.
How could my wife possibly pursue a career in music and still pursue Jesus and her deep desire to be a mother? She, like me, convinced herself that the two weren’t compatible and moved on.
The result, however, was not that we were both pursuing Jesus with vigor like never before. The result was that we were simply going through the motions of life starved for direction, completely lost.
This reality was painful for both of us. We sat there knowing that in many ways we felt dead inside, skeletons of those two newly-engaged college students, who felt that they could conquer the world.
It was in that painful moment, though, that we made a decision. We were going to continue to pursue Jesus while also pursuing the passions that we were given. We decided to see our passions as a gift from God that could be used for His glory, rather than something that was just getting in the way of our ultimate purpose. After all, our ultimate purpose has already been made known to us as believers.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
The Westminster Catechism echoes this Scripture as it begins by asking this question: what is the chief end of man? The answer in its simplest terms is to glorify God, and to fully enjoy Him forever.
So what does it look like to glorify God and fully enjoy Him while simultaneously pursuing what we are passionate about all for his glory?
Honestly, we don’t know. What we do know is this...
When my wife sings, she feels close to God. She sees the beauty of his creation through the music that she is singing and that stirs in her affections for Him. She can bring glory to God through song and so she is pursuing music with a renewed sense of passion.
When I speak to someone whose life has fallen apart I feel tenderness towards them. It is in those moments when I am reminding them who God is and what He has promised that I remember how good He has been to me. I remember that no matter how deep the suffering was, he was always there. It is in those times of remembrance that my affections stir towards God and I am filled with a renewed sense of joy and passion.
When I cover a sporting event or I write an article, I am reminded that the gift I have came from God. I am reminded that he alone deserves the glory for whatever success may come my way. I am spurred on then to write as unto God, because He was the one who gave me this passion.
So what is the takeaway?
The takeaway is that as followers of Christ we are always going to have speed bumps in life. We are going to encounter things we never expected and may one day find ourselves in a similar place, wondering how we became paralyzed. In the same moment, though, we will have to opportunity to move forward. We can choose to pursue what God has made us passionate about because it’s never too late to enter into the fullness of what God has planned for us.
It’s never too late. Pursue God, pursue passion and give Him all the glory. That is our purpose, after all.