Some of the more important discoveries I've had about myself and my life have occurred while sharing my thoughts on this site. As I reach for words to describe an experience or a feeling, I often uncover a realization about myself that I wasn’t aware of. And every time I have one of those moments, I sit here almost dumbfounded that I have “found” another facet of myself!
I’ve had other epiphanies while having a conversation with others, either in answering a question or in sharing my faith. I had one of those just a few days ago…
Earlier this week I got a call from our youngest son Christian, asking if I had time for a cup of coffee and some conversation. I figured that something was up, because he and I haven’t sat down to have a “conversation” since his marriage to his wife Amber seven years ago. We agreed to meet early the next day at Starbuck’s. I wasn’t wrong; something was up.
Christian and I talked about a lot of things that morning, but one topic sticks out in my mind, because it lead to one of those moments of discovery for me…
In so many words Christian was wondering why I had pretty much dropped off the radar screen, in the sense of my being around as a father, and more importantly, as a grandfather. Actually, he was fairly upset about it, and I guess rightly so. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my commitments to work, church, and The Seed of Hope have stripped me of a lot of family time. Well, I guess that Christian had just had enough, and he wanted to let me know it!
As Christian began to speak, I realized that he was calling me on the carpet, “dressing me down”, as they say. And you know what? I respected him for doing it…I did the same thing to my Dad several years ago, and I know how hard it was for him to get everything off his chest. It’s not an easy thing for a son to tell his father what he needs to hear, and Christian was doing exactly that.
What could be more important than my family?
In answering this question I have to take a moment to talk about a word found in the dictionary: passion. No, I’m not gonna give you the textbook definition; I’m gonna give you my definitions of the word as I knew it in various stages of my life. First as a child, then as a young adult, and finally, what I perceive passion to be at the age of fifty-six.
As a child “passion” meant something that was reserved for grown-ups. I knew that it had something to do with sex, which was something that I wasn’t supposed to know about, because if it was about sex, it was dirty!
In my late teens I went through the “rite of passage” involving sex, and while I knew that I wasn’t truly an adult, I quickly developed a passion for passion, so I figured that I was old enough!
From where I’m looking right now, I consider passion to be a driving force in one’s life that is an all-consuming, never-waning, ever-present, almost blinding desire that has NOTHING to do with sex.
I’m not talking about something that you “like to do”, or enjoy when you have the time. I’m talking about something that is with you every waking moment, or at least it seems to be. It is something that you would put aside everything else for. Do you have one of those? Are you filled with passion for doing something?
So in answering Christian’s question I came to realize that God is my passion in life. I live to serve Him. I live to love Him. His presence consumes me. I seek to spread His name and the news of His goodness, without hesitation, reservation, or fear. While I know that I will never fully understand Him, that doesn’t keep my simple mind from wanting to know more about Him. I offer each day of my life to Him. God is first. All else, all else is second.
Funny thing is, I already knew that God was my passion. I knew it! There’s just something about making an affirmation of a belief to someone else that, I don’t know, makes it official. As I was talking, Christian heard what I was saying, I heard what I was saying, and God heard what I was saying. And as of this very moment, you have heard it too.
I have to add something else about my passion, something that just occurred to me. And on this point, I can only speak for myself; I’ve never spoken to anyone about his or her particular passion in life in this regard: “Is your passion something that you asked for or sought after?”
I didn’t ask for this passion, this all-consuming love for God. As a matter of fact, for the longest time, I tried to deny it. I mean, in many circles, being “all about God” ain’t cool, and talking openly about Him in public places, or even amongst friends, has certainly earned me my share of stares. Doesn’t matter. The absolute joy I experience in my relationship with Christ, in walking with Him each day, makes it all worth it. Besides, I've learned that there's no denying passion when you have it.
If you’ve read our business “story” you know that I didn’t grow up with aspirations of being co-owner of a hair salon. Well, I’ll let you in on a secret: I also didn’t grow up with my sights set on evangelism…yet here I am, contemplating taking part in a four-semester ministry program. Go figure…
Some thoughts about God…He wants us to be passionate about Him! God wants each of us to live in abundance, to be fulfilled in our “journey”, and to receive His many blessings along the way. He wants a true relationship with each one of us, a relationship more satisfying than any we could dream of having. But here’s the thing, the “qualifier”, the condition, if you will, to that relationship: we have to come to Him. He’s waiting there with open arms for us, but we have to run to Him.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV)
Love Him with a passion.
See you next Monday.