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I had a great time meeting with a young man for breakfast and talking about life, faith, and relationships. He has a blog that you can check out if you are interested in knowing more about him and what he stands for: The Change Theory.
My first encounter with Jordan was several years back in a student discipleship class that I was teaching. After the first night of class, I had an email from him that was waiting in my queue before I ever got home. This had me thinking, “Wow, I have really connected with one of the kids!” When I had read the email, I discovered that he wanted me to help him with his skit for the upcoming student talent show. He was going to impersonate Elton John and he needed someone to help him with this skit. How was I to help him with his impersonation of Elton John, you ask? Funny you should ask because I asked the same question.
Jordan was going to perform the song, Tiny Dancer, and he wanted me to be the tiny dancer while he was singing. Imagine the images that were floating across my inner screen… me in a tutu dancing in front of people. I have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. I called a couple of other adults hoping to get an excuse that it wouldn’t be appropriate for a grown man to dance in a tutu. Uh.. didn’t happen. They all thought it was a great idea and their laughter was all the proof that I needed that they believed it and that I wasn’t going to have a good excuse to decline the invitation to make a fool of myself.
There were several moments over the weeks that followed that proved that dancing in a tutu was not my passion – from the many rehearsals that were ‘mandatory’ ( I think Kenny called them mandatory so that he could laugh some more as I pranced around the stage) to the time I stopped in at the local store that sold princess apparel for little girls. The cashier was all sweet and gushing over my purchases of fairy wings, wand, tiara, and glitter until she asked me if the purchases were for my little princess and I chose to respond truthfully that, “No, they are for me.”
The big night came and went and at the end of it all Jordan and I earned 2nd place. Maybe if my passion had been dancing we could have danced sneaked into first.
I share that story to add some depth to the conversation that Jordan and I had this morning. We got onto the subject of passion as it relates to faith. During the discussion, I shared the following thoughts with him.
There are a lot of contemporary books that instruct us that God calls us according to our passions. While that may be true in some cases, it is not the case across the board and we only have to look to the bible to see evidence of this.
- Moses didn’t seem too passionate about going back to Egypt
- Jonah was so passionate about going to Nineveh that he got on a boat going in the opposite direction
I think there is a verse in Psalms that is better geared to how we should align our passions for God’s calling:
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. ~ Psalms 37:4
So what happens when God becomes our passion? According to the scripture above, we receive the desires of our hearts. Maybe God uses our pre-existing passions maybe He doesn’t but it won’t matter because no matter the circumstance we find ourselves in, we still have God. I think Paul would agree with this type of thinking. Actually, if you read Philippians you can find that all of his previous passions became as dung to him when it came to his new passion – to know Christ.
That new passion lead him to some bad situations like prison. That new passion earned him stonings and beatings. Yet.. he didn’t look at those things as negatives but as positives because they gave him the opportunity to advance the gospel.
Maybe you are one of the lucky ones where you have been called to your passion. Or maybe you are struggling with where God is calling you because you don’t have that overwhelming passion like missionary work or church planting or name any number of contemporary high-profile gigs that we all think we are supposed to be called to if we are following Christ.
What if you changed your focus instead and made God your passion? And were passionate right where you are until God moves you? Is it possible that you will get the desires of your heart even if it means your calling is to clean the church when nobody is looking? Or to be a friend to someone in need that other people have rejected or minimized? Or maybe you are to share your passion through a community or workplace bible study.
Maybe in your passion for God, you will find that what once would have been an unbearable situation can actually bring you joy.
So, let me ask this question, how would you apply Jack Nicklaus’s statement to delighting in the Lord?