What Makes Your Heart Sing?
- Saturday, May 08, 2010
Feeling cranky, tired, discouraged or edgy? Sure, it could be hunger or hormones, but the problem could go deeper.
Recently, I was suffering from "technology overload" - and a prolonged schedule packed with new learning curves. We've been married so long, my husband reognized the symptoms immediately. It was time to talk.
"What makes your heart sing?" he asked gently but firmly. "I think that's the real problem."
I knew immediately what he meant. Maybe you do, too.
We're All Unique
When I first started writing this article, I almost changed my mind. Too common a question… nothing new I can add. But then I realized that's really one of the very reasons for writing it - we can all offer our own special perspectives.
We all have unique interests and activities. We list them in our profiles; we post them on our Facebook walls; and we talk about them with animated expressions. They occupy the white spaces of our calendars. Even our checkbooks can reflect them. We may enjoy a variety of things. But within each heart lies one or more passions that drives our words, thoughts, and actions more than any other.
Do What Makes Your Heart Sing
I first heard that phrase, "Do what makes your heart sing," years ago in a magazine story about Lady Byrd Johnson. The wife of former president Lyndon B. Johnson, she was known for her beautification efforts - particularly in the planting of flowers throughout the nation's countryside - though that was only a small part of her contributions. State highway tractors stopped mowing, and wildflowers began to spread. Allergy sufferers may not appreciate her passion, but no one can deny the colorful, floral display of God's beauty as you travel along the highways of America. The reason she persisted in that endeavor? "It was something my heart could sing to," she once said.
I adopted that slogan years ago when I discovered one of the things that made my own heart sing: writing, particularly in creating beauty through the power of encouraging words, and pointing others toward intimacy with God (though I love flowers, too!). At first my efforts were only for God's ears and mine, but as I began to scatter seeds, they spread-like wildflowers - as I shared colorful words with others. When I moved too far away from that passion, I experienced a persistent restlessness.
What About You?
What makes your heart sing? I know a couple whose simple song and goal is to help someone every day - in a practical way. Their "music" travels great distances. Some love to build fine homes; others live to better those in hovels. A massage therapist I just met shared her passion of helping relieve others' pain, even though as a sufferer of fibromyalgia, she is exhausted the day after giving a massage. All of these people offer their God-given gifts to others and make a difference in their own way.
Whether it's touting the advantages of an iPod or iPad, training business employees, or teaching children life skills, you love what you do. And I'm not talking here just about making money with your passion. Not everyone can do that. But you can use your passion to make a difference in your world. I love what Katharine Graham once said: "To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?"
But not everything in life is… fun, even if you do know what makes your heart sing. You may be suffering from something far more serious than "technology overload." Sometimes economic downturns, painful losses, or debilitating circumstances can threaten to silence the music of your heart. But it doesn't have to. The apostle Paul's enemies tried to eradicate the passionate "music" of Paul's life: "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). They chained him and threw him in a smelly dungeon. But guess what? Paul's song grew louder. And as he sang praises, literally, to His God, the chains fell off; God both spared and changed the jailer's life; and Paul's passion - and song - grew even stronger (Acts 16:22-34).
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