I’m sure most of you can relate with me about the excitement that comes with something new. Oh how many times I have started that new diet, or got excited about a new job, or new hobby only to come to a screeching hault a short time later. There could be different reasons – maybe my original idea was too “lofty” to be realistic. Maybe I tried something new, and didn’t like it, which happens. Or maybe I truly had a passion for something, which got me started…but I struggled with the process to get there.
My experience over the past few years with pursuing my “passions” has not been what I had imagined. For instance, I was a mentor to a few young girls for a while. I started out so excited that I felt nervous, stressed, and incapable. I prayed hard before each meeting for what to say; I was so worried about doing something wrong that I didn’t just relax and take time to be in the moment with each person. Over time, and when I almost stopped being a mentor, I realized my focus was wrong. It was not easy to realize God was showing me that I was thinking about me and not them. I was trying to give of myself, but in reality it was for myself – to “feel” like I was making a difference. Of course I loved these girls – my motivation was not bad. It’s just that I had an expectation. Initially I imagined our meetings would be me giving wonderful, amazing advice while they listened intently and took in every word. Oh, and we would hug at the end and they would thank me for my wonderful contribution to their life. Blech – disgusting right?
I didn’t even realize this was in my heart; I truly was trying to give of myself. But I had some things to learn, and had I given up on the process I never would have developed the character changes that were needed in my heart. God gave me a passion and I pursued it. Then I had to learn how to give selflessly – which was a process. Sometimes our passions stir up so much emotion in us that we try to keep that feeling going. The reality of the day-to-process of many things in life can feel mundane. We want the end, we want the result.
For me, I began to see my meetings with these young ladies as a way to serve. I listened and gave little advice. I didn’t plan an agenda ahead of time. Sometimes I brought them water and snacks. I didn’t feel I was making a tangible impact as the world would see it, but I realized the point was to just be there for them. I felt God saying to me that He was teaching me what was really important. Then I went from thinking I needed to quit (because I wasn’t making an impact) to being energized by giving of myself. I embraced the process and kept doing it so I could learn.
Now there are MANY areas of my life where I have not stayed with the process…I have so much to learn. But this experience gave me hope. And the idea that I must find perseverance while pursuing my passions is an important lesson. I can either not serve – and miss out on what God has for me…or I can do something with the wrong heart and quit anyway. Either way, I’m not living out what God wired me to do, and that’s sad!
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
© Kristin Gordley and Moments In The Story, June 2012.