Find Your Passion?

It seems like all millennials and everyone who speaks to millennials talk all about passion.

“Find your passion”

“Follow your passion”

“Do what you’re passionate about and the money will follow”

Personally I don’t feel especially passionate about very many things so I was beginning to think that I was missing something. So I decided to look up what passion actually means. Here’s the definition:

  • a strong, barely controllable emotion; enthusiasm, obsession, fixation

Now I get it. Now I better understand so many young people. We are being told and telling each other to follow our passions constantly. But being a passion driven person seems to be a huge sign of immaturity.

Read the definition again. Do you really want to be an obsessive person with barely any control over your emotion(s)?  I don’t.

Contrast this with conviction:

  • a firmly held belief or opinion; assurance, confidence, certitude

That sounds more like something that I can get on board with. I’d much rather be a confident person who firmly holds to my beliefs.

Passion is flakey. Conviction is steadfast.

Passion is easy and immature. Even my cat can muster up passion. This very morning her passion for her tuna cat food woke me up at 530am. On the other hand, conviction must be developed. You don’t wake up one morning a convicted person. Someone who would rather die than renounce their faith has conviction. Every day people die for their convictions. Passion often kills people. How many times have you heard the news describe some terrible event as a “crime of passion?” The answer is a lot. I’ll help you with the tough ones.

I think that passion focus is part of the reason why my generation tends to be pegged as flakey and flighty. Passion comes and goes. Remember when everyone was “passionate” about the whole Kony thing? It was all I saw on Instagram and Facebook for a while. And by a while, I mean like a week. Nobody is talking about it now. I don’t even know what happened with the whole thing. I honestly can’t keep up with all the things I am supposed to be passionate about. Right now it’s immigration and equal pay for women. What will it be in 6 months? All this bandwagon passion cannot be healthy.

What I find frustrating is that many of the issues that people are so passionate about are actually good and legitimate things to be concerned about. Obviously women deserve equal pay as men for doing the same jobs. In some cases, they probably deserve more for having to put up with us.  Who will be the people who are actually doing something about this in 6 months? Only the convicted people. People with confident certitude stick it out. That’s what who I want to be.

Do you have passions? Great! Put in the effort to develop them into convictions because convicted people change the world. Passion can only take you so far. It’s pretty far but not far enough.

Sample Journal Entry

As promised in my previous post, here’s one of my journal entries exactly as I wrote it. So if something reads a little bit weird, that’s why.

1/17/17

1 John 1:8-2:2 (NASB)

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgives us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

  1. What does this passage teach about God?

– God is faithful (v9)

– God is righteous (v9),  esp. in regards to forgiving confessed sins

– God is forgiving (v9)

– Jesus is righteous (v1)

  1. What does this passage teach about people?

– People are sinful (v8)

– People can deceive themselves (v8)

– People can be righteous (v9)

– People can behave in such a way as to make God appear to be a liar (v10)

  1. What does this passage teach about the relationship between God and people?

– When people confess their sins God will forgive and cleanse them (v9)

– Jesus is the advocate between people and the Father (v1)

– Jesus is the propitiation for every person’s sin (v2)

  1. How does this passage help me know God better?

– I always need to be reminded about how God is faithful to forgive when I confess. Confession is something that I can certainly improve.

  1. How does this passage show the glory of God?

– How amazing is that God is willing to forgive the people who killed His son in wickedness? That’s glorious!

5 Questions To Ask The Bible

For those of you that do not know, my degree is in Biblical Studies with a focus on Biblical Exegesis. That’s just the technical term for in-depth Bible study. I genuinely love reading and studying the Bible. I would love to someday be able to go back to school to study some more just for the love of it.

Something that concerns me is the way that I tend to see people reading the Bible. I see people injecting whatever they want into the Bible and picking and choosing the parts they want to believe. When a lot of people read the Bible it seems more like they are choosing ice cream flavors rather than actually trying to discern what God has said to His people. I think most of this is based on simple ignorance. I’ve never been in a church that consistently teaches its members how to read the Bible in a proper and effective way. I think that sharing what I do might be helpful to some of you.

Here’s what you need to daily read the Bible:

  • a Bible- preferably one of those fancy journaling ones so you can draw cool pictures
  • an artistic latte
  • a leather journal
  • plenty of Instagram filters

JUST KIDDING, here’s what I actually do

  • Before reading anything, I pray this prayer that I developed;
    • Father, give me the wisdom and understanding to comprehend your word. Jesus, thank you for being the physical manifestation and fulfillment of the word. Holy Spirit, help me to know the meaning and the intent in the words you breathed into our people long ago and help me to live it through you for the glory of God, Amen.
    • Admitting that I don’t know everything has been very helpful and asking God for help understanding the Bible does work. It’s His book, He wants you to know what it means.
  • While reading;
    • ask 5 questions
      • What does this teach about God?
      • What does this teach about people?
      • What does this teach about the relationship between God and people?
      • How does this help me know God better?
      • How does this passage show the glory of God?
    • I like these questions because it takes a lot of my own opinions out of the process. Sometimes, you won’t be able to answer all the questions because not all passages speak to each item.
  • Once I have thoughtfully and prayerfully answered the above questions, I know that I have a better handle on what the passage says without me injecting what I think it means right off the bat.
  • This is a great daily method. I typically read a paragraph at a time and following this method, it usually takes about 15 minutes. EVERYONE has 15 minutes a day to read to Bible.

Later I’ll post an example straight from my journal so you can see what it looks like.

I’m Back

It’s been a while since I have written anything. The beginning of this year has been personally hectic and I haven’t felt like posting much of anything. It’s been the hardest time of my life and I just couldn’t muster up the motivation to write until now.

So if you were missing me, I’m back and I have some things planned that I am so excited about. More excited than I’ve been in a long time. I am even planning on writing a book! I’ll be sharing more on here and probably my Instagram.

Have a great Sunday!

How to be happy in 2017

A couple of days ago I was listing to a TED podcast that was all about happiness. What really resonated with me was the relationship between gratitude and happiness.

I, like many others apparently, thought that the happier a person is the more grateful they become. It’s actually just the opposite. What is turning up now is that the people who express the most gratitude are the happiest and not the other way around. This is so much the case that it can be said that gratitude causes/creates happiness.

The more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. I don’t think that I have ever been truly grateful for something while simultaneously feeling sad or upset. It’s even hard for me to imagine a truly grateful person NOT feeling happy. Because of all this I am going to make 2017 a year of gratitude. Not just feeling grateful but actually expressing my gratitude because gratitude that’s not expressed is basically the same as ingratitude.

Here’s how I plan to do this:

  • I plan to send out 200 handwritten thank you notes this year. I want to hand deliver as many as possible because that seems like more fun and saves me money on stamps!
  • I plan to express gratitude more regularly to strangers. Like the waitress, cashier, and basically anyone who serves me.
  • I am going to continue to write positive Google reviews.

By doing these things, I think it’s safe to say that 2017 will be my happiest year yet!

What do you say?

One of the very best things my mom taught me was gratitude. She taught what it is and how to express it. Anytime someone said or did something worthy of gratitude I would hear “What do you say?” from my mom. The answer to that question was always a smile and “Thank You” to whoever. I remember many times being so annoyed when I heard this question because I heard it SO many times. A big chunk of the time my smile was forced and my “thank you” was insincere. Looking back now I am truly grateful for this practice. My mom constantly forced me into noticing when my gratitude was required and appropriate. No joke, even now I sometimes hear in my head “what do you say?” after someone does something for me.

Because of this great parenting, I find it natural to express gratitude but I know that this is not always the case for everyone. Some might find it awkward or weird or whatever. Since I know that some of you out there feel like this I thought I would share an easy way to get into the habit of expressing gratitude. Here it is:

Regularly write 5-star Google reviews.

This might seem odd but I started doing it when I was pleased with how I was served and I began to feel great about myself in the most positive way. A specific, positive, 5-star review is a modern way to send a thank you note. When I started doing this regularly I caught myself going into restaurants, stores, and other public places with an entirely different attitude. Instead of my default critical crankiness I started looking for reasons to be satisfied and grateful. Rather than waiting to be disappointed, I am starting to be more internal about being a good finder. Zig Ziglar used to say “Some people really do find fault like there’s some kind of reward for it.”  This was (and sometimes is) me. But that simple choice of deciding to write a 5 star review is helping me become a good finder.

Try it. It’s so easy. Take a minute right now and think of a business you frequent and someone you know at this place who serves you well. Google the business and write a 5 star positive review.

Be specific.

Name names.

Say thank you.

You never know, you might become a good finder in other areas of your life. Will you try it? Come on now, what do you say?

Spiritual Self Talk

One of the most valuable and helpful things I learned in 2016 was the value of positive productive self talk. Some of you might be thinking “I don’t talk to myself.” If that’s you, you just did. Everyone carries on some kind of internal dialogue throughout the day. I know for me, it used to be primarily negative. I would say things to and about myself that I would NEVER say about anyone else. I wouldn’t even let someone say those things about me. But there I go saying them about myself. Think about it for a sec. Would you let someone say to you the things that you say about yourself?

I made it a daily practice of mine to say positive things about myself out loud in front of a mirror at least once per day. This is still a weird and awkward thing to do but it has made profound differences in the way I behave throughout the day. For instance, there have been several times where I felt like not going the extra mile in my work and instead doing just a good job. But what came into my head was the words that I had been telling myself. I have convinced myself that I am a hard worker and that I do go the extra mile. Once my mind was convinced, my actions followed suit. Another time I remember I was about to get furious at ANOTHER terrible Arizona driver but I distinctly thought “I used to be that person, but I’m not anymore. Calm yourself.” This is because I have been regularly convincing myself that I’m not someone who reacts in anger anymore.

This is an especially important practice for Christians. I know that it helps us to become more Christlike through our co-operation with the Holy Spirit to conform us more and more into His likeness. Here’s a good place to start:

Stand alone in front of a mirror and say the following based from Galatians 5:22-23:

I (input your name here) am a loving, joyful, peaceful and peace bringing, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled person.

This will take you less than 30 seconds. It’s so easy. But what if you know that you are definitely NOT self-controlled or kind or any of the above qualities? Wouldn’t that be lying? Nope, and here’s why: Every Christian is indwelt with the Holy Spirit at the moment of their conversion (Acts 2:38). The above qualities are all listed by Paul as fruits of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it seems to follow that as a Christian you have at the very least the seeds of all of these qualities. With the Holy Spirit’s help and your hard work, all of these qualities will be manifested in you.

So do it for a week. It will make a difference. Once you convince yourself that because of God’s work in your life that you really do have all of these qualities, you will start to act like you do.

PS- here’s a link to get the self-talk protocol that I use- it’s more detailed and takes longer but it’s legit.