Finding My Passions and Making Them Work

Discernment Oct 19, 2011 1 Comment

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to connect with two childhood friends whom I had not seen in years.  As 12-year old girls we shared sleepovers, endless hours of play, imagining and giggling.  As adults we moved apart pursuing careers and family, only occasionally, peeking into each other’s lives on Facebook.  

Unfortunately, the reason we were brought together again wasn’t for a girls’ reunion but to attend the memorial service of my grandmother – the woman who hosted those sleepovers and all-night giggle fests.

Beyond the tears we emerged to talk about life.  The life my grandmother had departed but left us to live.

From that conversation the topic of what might be next for me came up.  What will I do once the kids are older and living their own dreams?  The possibility of considering a new career was daunting.  Within minutes my friends assessed that I did not know (or was not clear ) about what I truly loved doing – aside from the obvious, my family (husband and children) and my faith. 

So when my friends said “Just do what you are passionate about,”  followed by  “Okay, so what are you passionate about?” it caused me to go blank, stall and my mind to go foggy.   Now, readers of my blog and family and friends may wonder why I didn’t say the obvious: family, faith, travel and missions. These themes are present in my blog but when considering future employment or lifelong endeavors,  I just didn’t think those passions mattered at all.  So, I hesitated. 
After quickly (and I mean quickly) discrediting the things I loved, I decided to mention my skills.  That made sense because we were talking about future employment.
My girlfriend interrupted and said,
“I didn’t say your skills. Apparently you don’t know what you are passionate about, and if you don’t figure it out soon anything you do will just be a job.”
30-minutes earlier I had just heard the stories of people whose lives were transformed because my grandmother knew what she was passionate about.  She knew that she’d rather cook food for the entire neighborhood and have them feast in shifts in her little apartment than dine in a fine restaurant alone.

She knew that she’d rather be kind to and be in the company of people with disabilities than in the company of people who mistreated them. She was a retired caseworker and teacher for the developmentally challenged. 

During my grandmother’s eulogy, I heard how her passions enriched the people who came into contact with her. 
Moments later, I was being challenged to consider how my story would be retold 40 years from now. 
On the drive home I realized that my grandmother had given me a wonderful example and I couldn’t ignore it.
I had to be intentional about the person I would become, about the legacy I would leave. 
Finally, I began a quest to answer not just my friend but myself.
How do I find my passions, and how do I put them to work?
Could you quickly answer what your passions are?  Try it.
If you know,  do you use your passions at work? 
I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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