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 .