On Finding Your Passion

Last year, at the (then) Relevant Conference, I sat in on a session with Emily Freeman. Emily’s advice for finding your ‘calling’ or passion– “pay attention to what makes you cry.”

Her words gave me goosebumps then and even now, as I re-read them, my skin pricks with the chill of knowing, of recognizing and no longer living afraid of owning my passion.

And her advice is good. When you’re staring at that blinking cursor, or sitting with your journal open in your hands and you will the words to come, and they don’t, think about what moves you. What is it in this life that stirs your soul, what is it that forces the lump in your throat or excites you? What are your favorite books, what are your favorite movies, what is the theme that runs between these things and connects them. Is there a cause you get fired up about? Write it down. Let it breath on the page. Ask God what dreams He has for you, pray for discernment.

Some tips for finding your passion:

  • Make a list of the things that stir emotion in you (any emotion, even if it’s something that makes you angry or sad), list them privately, perhaps in a journal.
  • Take your list and circle the top three that stand out at you. Are they related to each other? If they are, how so? If not, can you find any type of common theme (it may be less obvious, but try)
  • Pray for God to reveal your passion to you, ask His opinion on the matter, seek His direction for using your passions for His glory- you are designed with specific passions and desires unique to you, God knows what they are so don’t be afraid to ask Him to reveal them to you!
  • Ask your “kitchen friends” what they think your gifts are. ( I have a friend who believes me to be gifted in hospitality, though I hadn’t considered this for myself, after hearing her expound on why she felt this way, I can see why she said this and it has helped me to discover more about who I am and what moves me to serve- the point is, you might be surprised by what your friends know about you!)
  • Answer Emily’s question, “What is it that makes you cry?”

Now choose one word from your list and free-write whatever comes in to our head related to this word. Don’t be surprised if this is some of your best writing. When you write from your sweet spot, your writing will be most authentic. When you write boldly about what moves you, don’t be surprised when your words move others. Passion is contagious.

Finding your passion is not always an instant thing. My passion for writing has grown over time as it has been nurtured and exercised. I recommend you do these exercises privately because this is not necessarily the time for everyone to add their two-cents to your processing. You may feel less inhibited about being honest with yourself as you name your passions, when you know that no one is peeking at you. I believe that once you have uncovered your niche, or passion, you will feel peace about it. Not that everything you do within the realm of living out your passion will be peaceful, but you will know that you are doing what fulfills you, what God has called you to do.

Have you found your passion? Can you feel the difference in your writing when you write about those things which burn deep in your soul? I’m dying to know.

Kris is a contributor to Sisters In Bloom and you can follow Kris’s musings at her personal blog, Always Alleluia .

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trina-Holden/515132083 Trina Holden

     Kris, this was excellent, practical advice for identifying passions! I’m so glad you addressed this as so many of us are in the middle of this process. And, coming from one who has recently more fully defined and embraced my life’s passion – your prompts really do help! We have to take time to slow down and doodle about this, or be brave and ask a friend. Love this article. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Trina. I love your spunky spirit. I think often of you, praying for me last year at Relevant. You seem to be living your passion, and it shows. Your words, your heart, all glowing with the light of Christ in you. Keep living it for Him. He will bless you for serving Him so passionately. 😉

  • kathy bryan

    Excellent, thought provoking advice!!  Advice that I plan to promptly put into action.  Thank You!!

    • Anonymous

      Wonderful, Kathy. I’d love to hear what you uncover about your passions! email me anytime  kris(at)alwaysalleluia(dot)com :)

  • http://www.arock4him.blogspot.com/ Amy Hunt

    FABULOUS post, friend! Absolutely fabulous! Hugs. 

    • Anonymous

      So thankful you liked this, Amy! :)

  • Anonymous

     Wonderful advice!  I think finding a passion (or two) would be a good exercise for more me right now, as I seem to be all over the place in my thoughts. I’ll be picking up the pen as soon as I click post on this comment!  Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Wonderful Teresa. Praying that the Lord guides you as you seek out your passions and what His plans are for your gifts. 

  • http://fruitinseason.blogspot.com Christine- Fruit in Season

    Wonderful!  I love your list of how to go about finding your passions.  Thanks for the link too!  xoxo

    • Anonymous

      You know I love ya! 😉 

  • http://2sweetthings.blogspot.com Mandy

    Love this post. It’s funny because it took someone else saying it and then God reaffirming it for me to really see what my passion is. And now that I’ve sort of glimpsed what He’s calling me to, it’s amazing how easy the words and ideas come. Thanks for your post!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you, Mandy!  Praying you pursue your passions with dilligence and joy!

  • http://www.redeemingthetable.com Kamille

    such great advice Kris–love this and I vaguely remember Emily saying this–so glad you took notes.  

    • Anonymous

      Thaks, Kamille! :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/mc.mike.nz Mike McArthur

    This is great, and good advice about keeping it private to begin with. It is strange how we can have a passion which stirs our soul and moves us to action even, yet not consciously realize that this is something that God has given us to nurture and pursue with out lives. Thanks Kris.

    • Anonymous

      What a great point, Mike. for years I didn’t realize that writing is a gift that God has blessed me with. It can be hard to reconcile our desires with God’s desires for us, but you said it well. Thank you for stopping by! 

  • Kristi

    Great post, Kris! Makes my face and heart smile wide! YOUR passion radiates and it is a joy to see. When you find what makes your heart beat fast for the Kingdom, there’s no turning back. It’s like you have found the clock-maker on your heart. You know the Father in a different way and see His world through different eyes.
    Thank you for such a fine tuned way to identify what it is that makes all of us tick.

    • Anonymous

      Bless you for these words, my friend. Yes! you said it so well, when you find your passion it is impossible to turn back. Knowing that my passions are a gift from Him makes me want to chase them all the more, I always say, By His strength, for His glory, may I serve and glorify Him in all I do. It’s so awesome learning about our unique design. 😉 

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Beautiful post my friend.  It’s so important that we recognize and run with the passions that God put inside of us.  I believe I know what mine are, but it’s a continual discovery, isn’t it?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it is a continual process. once we identify our passions, then comes the honing and shaping of them, learning to pursue them in a Christ honoring way– there is such freedom in the discovery! :)

  • http://charinabrooks.wordpress.com/ Charina

    What a great post!
    This – If you would allow me to quote what Kristi said:
    “When you find what makes your heart beat fast for the Kingdom, there’s no turning back. It’s like you have found the clock-maker on your heart. You know the Father in a different way and see His world through different eyes.”  Amen to this!!!
    All good things!

    • Anonymous

      yes, Amen! :)

  • http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/ Mary Bonner

    Kris,  thank you.  I have read and re-read this post.  I have been ruminating on it since I first read it yesterday.  I am praying that the Lord will reveal to me my passion(s).  I feel silly that I don’t think I know what they are!

    Anyway, I appreciate the steps you have laid out.  I will follow them and wait upon the Lord.

    I REALLY look forward to meeting you at Allume in the October…you ARE going, aren’t you?!?!

    • Anonymous

      Mary, I felt the same way you talk about, it seemed so rediculous to me that for a long time I lived ignorant to my passions. In hindsight however, I feel that I sort of knew it all along, I had just made so many excuses for not living my passions out. It has been a long, LONG process to even get to this point, and I woudn”t dream of saying that I have *arrived*. I know what my passions are now, but the process continues to evolve, as God grows and stretches me. I am praying for you, that the Lord would reveal His plans for you, and show you how to live out the passions He has woven into your soul. 

      PS: YES, I WILL be at Allume. 😉 Don’t you dare leave there without giving me a squeeze!! 😉

  • http://shh121.wordpress.com/ Sarah

    This makes perfect sense to me. Often the best words that fly from my fingers onto the screen are the ones that are typed through tears. I often think to myself…what *is* it that I am suppose to be doing? Finding my passion, through prayer, is the answer. I love how you say “Ask for His opinion.”  But I also love how you give step-by-step path that leads to discovering our passion. Thanks for your words!

    • Anonymous

      Sarah~ Praying that the Lord speaks to your heart, that He reveals His beautiful truths to you, regarding your passions, and may He guide you as you seek to bring Him glroy through living those passions out loud 😉

  • http://ramonawritesagain.com/ Ramona

    Yes! and no. I have found my passions — the things that make me cry. (And how cool to hear confirmation that this is key and that I’m not making impulsive decisions when something moves me to tears). But I am struggling hard to connect with them. The doors keep shutting when I try to pursue them. I can write about them and speak of them; but at some point, I feel like I need to pursue them more so that I have a fresh well of experience from which to write. And those doors keep slamming in my face… *sob*

    • Anonymous

      Ramona, I am sorry you feel defeated about pursuing your passions. You know, I hit a wall last year, before I started my blog, and when I was feeling the strong pull to start writing publicly, I fasted for 21 days. God worked me over so much during that time, and while I don’t believe that there is a formula to ‘get’ God to speak to us, I DO highly recomend fasting on the principal that it IS a biblical practice often used when we need to hear clearly from the Lord. You can find lots of scripture to support this. I will be praying for you specifically in this area, and I would love to hear ore from you. Please feel free to email me at kris(at)alwaysalleluia(dot)com or stop by my blog and say hi. I’m praying for you, Ramona! Don’t let the enemy discourage you! 

      • http://ramonawritesagain.com/ Ramona

        Thank you so much! :-) What kind of fast would you recommend for someone who’s never really done much in the way of fasting before?

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know if you have heard of YouVersion (they have a bible app) but I use that app on my mobile devices and they have a 21 day fast devotional that was really awesome. I used that and found it to be very inspiring and encouraging. If you dont have a mobile device, you can always use it right online (youversion(dot)com) As for what to fast from, when I did mine, iit was from all social media. It was harder than I thought it would be, but God really blessed me for getting quiet and listening for His voice. I would just pray about what you think you ought to fast from. I think when choosing how to fast, it helps to choose something that is a distraction, or something we tend to lean on for comfort or entertainment rather than spending time with God. I am sure God will speak to you, when you ppray about how to do this. I know He will honor your obedience. Praying for you!! I’d love to hear how it goes. 

  • Kim Hall

    “What makes you cry?”
    Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins said that quality questions yield quality information and this one certainly nails that one on the head!

    You are right that it may take time to reveal your passion, and I would also add that sometimes we need a guide to help us to find that treasure. I had never  been able to figure it out on my own, and hired a great coach, Joel Boggess of 4 Points Coaching, and have spent the past year working on unlocking my passion.

    Joel has a wonderful worksheet to use with your family and “kitchen friends” (love that description!) to help you see your strengths and talents through their eyes. You can find it at his site under Resources, and the sheet is a download titled “What do they know?” I used it with my family and was surprised, delighted and humbled by the gifts they saw in me.

    I would recommend patience and an open mind and lots of prayer. When you really let go in your heart and mind, and ask for guidance, and then listen and act, I can say the results are wonderfully exciting. You had asked if we had found our passion, and I can say I have. I wrote about the journey on my blog. If you do a search on “Time to tell my story” you can read it.

    Thanks for sharing this information. So many of us settle for an ill-fitting life, or assume that we don’t have special gifts like other people and that is not what God has planned for us!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for chiming in, Kim. I am so thankful that you have found your passions and have been blessed by God’s words to you regarding this. It DOES take patience, and lts of prayer. Honestly, if you do nothing else to discover your passions, prayer ought to be at the very top of the list. God hear our hearts cry and will reveal His plans for us, when we wait on Him. 

      Blessings, my friend!

  • http://graceformymess.com/ Jana | Grace for My Mess

    My beautiful friend, you know how much I love this! I so appreciate how you’ve distilled the concept of finding your passion into digestible, easy-to-implement steps. You truly have a gift for writing and inspiring others! Thank you for living life out loud for Jesus. Love you bunches! XOXO

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Jana. for always encouraging me. Everyone should have a friend like you cheering them on and inspiring them to keep going. You are a treasure in my life. Love you. xo