“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with a song still in them.” Henry David Thoreau
This week, I will be writing a series of posts about honoring our passions and fulfilling our visions. They have been inspired by my recent journey to the West Coast to attend the Storylines Conference in San Diego.
A New Leaf- Day 1: The Realization
I have come to a painful realization. I waste a lot of time. It’s aggravating to me because I feel busy constantly, but often when I am thinking back on my day, I feel unproductive and guilty. I may have seen 5 clients, but I didn’t get any papers graded. Or I managed to cook dinner for my family, but I can’t remember spending 10 solid minutes just playing with my son. I keep finding myself in a place of constant stress at all the things I am not getting accomplished instead of feeling satisfied with and even grateful for my day. But when I think about how much time I waste, I feel resentful. “Don’t I deserve to sit down for a few minutes and watch tv? Isn’t it enough to work and take care of my family?” This mindset has led me down a path of entitlement and pride that has made it hard for me to notice how misguided I have become.
Somewhere along the way, I have actually villainized my passions and my visions. They have become the enemy to my comfort, and instead of embracing my passions and visions, I feel pressured and forced to act instead of motivated and inspired to bring them to fruition. But here’s the catch- they didn’t ask for that role. They didn’t demand it. I have personified them and given them authority over me. They have become the disapproving parents in my life who may not overtly punish me, but who shake their heads and sigh a lot, communicating that I am just not living up to potential and not really worth their energy anymore. I feel guilty for not being enough, then resentful that I am made to feel that way. That’s where the ego kicks in, and I decide to stop being a punching bag and feeling bad all the time. I am a rebellious teenager who says, “It’s my life, and I can live it however I want to!”
The problem is that I am not talking to anyone when I take this defiant position. I am not standing up to an abusive government or finding my own voice apart from my authority figures. I am declaring war on my own heart- my personal desires and hopes and dreams that have taken shape in my visions and goals.
I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to walk intimately alongside my passions and visions again, feeling out what works in the relationships and what doesn’t, openly receiving feedback from them and from others, and honoring their presence in my life. So this is my new vision- To honor and embrace my passions and seek out opportunities to act on them that will both challenge me and support others. God has placed these passions on my heart, and I want to be thoughtful and respectful of that. I want to handle them gently and warmly, creating an environment for them to flourish and grow.
In order for my passions and visions to be lived out, action must take place. And that’s the hard part. I can dream constantly, imagining organizations I want to start and people I want to work with and books I want to write, but eventually, for those dreams to become reality, I have to get to work.
Now that I have shifted my perspective by seeing my passions and visions as friends instead of foes, I have to be honest with myself about what holds me back from taking action; from putting ideas into motion and living out my passions and visions more fully. I have narrowed it down to three main hindrances in my life: Distraction, Comfort, and Fear. I will delve further into each one this week as I continue on my quest for a more meaningful and productive life. For now, I am going to go for a drive and have a talk with my passions.