Or perhaps the more debilitating frame of mind: What if God told me my purpose, but I just can’t hear him? I’m either too blocked off or sinful or removed from him … I just can’t hear!
And then you feel desolate, a half-hopeful soul in a wasteland of dying dreams you once easily named passions. And to what end? The endless emptiness begins to fill you, until the fear of even trying the menial is terrifying.
And then nothing. You waste away, and feel maybe the only purpose you ever had was to merely fade away and leave room for those who actually will do something real in this world.
How tragic a belief; how dangerous a theft of the color of your soul!
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am firm that there is purpose for every man, woman and child. That individual purpose will vary greatly, as will the magnitude of its impact, but each person, however great or small, is important, if to no one more than at least one person in this world.
Because that purpose is designed to bring us happiness, it becomes a target for those who would steal out that joy. Whether our human enemies, the antagonists of simple circumstances and fear, or if you credit Satan, himself, our passions and purpose are always under attack. Even our own fear of failure can act as our own worst enemy. The fear of not living up, or fear of being miserable, only then making us miserable.
But each of us has a purpose. We are designed for that purpose, and through that design (whether you credit Evolution in its randomness, or like me credit God in his infinite wisdom), we are built to WANT what we are designed to do. Like a hammer to a nail, a saw to a board, a chisel to stone, that which we are designed to do will fulfill us most, as the most fruit can be reaped when we are used as designed. What shovel can cut paper as well as scissors? Or scissors dig a hole as well as a shovel?
Sometimes we may walk astray, unsure how to reach our purpose, or even find out what that purpose is, but it is there, and our greatest hallmarks to it are the very passions within us, yearning to fulfill that ingrained purpose, settled within us long before we were born some some unseen hand.
Some may fear that to follow passion is selfish. “It’s what I want to do, but what about what the world needs? Or what if God has a plan for me and I’m too busy out here doing what I want and not listening to what he wants?”
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman
Could you imagine a hammer having such an existential problem? “I really want to hammer nails, but what if the Carpenter wants to dig a trench with me? I mean, I have the ability to dig up earth. Maybe he’ll want me to dig up earth. I shouldn’t go hammer nails. I should wait for him to dig up earth with me.”
Fear of selfishness and, more importantly, the belief that you are too gone or too devalued for God to use you, is arrogance and pride. To believe that the one who created you, shaped you, molded you and baked you, isn’t capable of reshaping you, is to believe yourself more powerful, important, or even too far broken, for him to fix. And yet to do so is to spit in the face of that simple fact that God, himself, designed the very fabric of our reality.
If a pot is shattered, the potter will not merely glue the pieces back together, he will melt you down and make you anew! Nothing is out of the reach of our God. And if he designed you as a pot, and you desire to hold flowers, or be used for cooking, or anything a pot might be made for, do not fear that to want what is built within you to desire is selfish!
God designs a hammer to WANT to hammer nails. By hammering nails with the hammer, both He and the hammer find joy, working together, for the hammer cannot hammer nails on its own, nor can we fulfill our purposes without God.
It will be a hand-in-hand relationship, but do not fear that your passions are selfish. WHAT you desire is far less prone to sin than HOW you pursue it. I want to write novels. Were I to write merely for selfish gain and use stories that glorified the world instead of God, I might fall out of favor. Were I to write novels that connected with all audiences but glorified the creator of the universe, might I not be following the design of God for me through my built-in passions and a daily relationship for God to remain within that very passion?
It’s not easy, and sometimes you won’t know which direction to go to find or rekindle those old passions, but don’t let go, and don’t let fear get in your way. Step forward, follow the passions of your heart, and find fulfillment in sharing that passion with the one who gave it to you!