Hardwired for Passion
- Saturday, July 09, 2011
Excerpted with permission from Moody Publishers from the introduction to Uncompromising (Moody Publishers, 2011) by Hannah Farver
A poet named Maud Kelly once wrote of reaching "the point I always knew would come, when I was at once too old and far too young, how I knew, really knew for the first time that there's a wildness in us."
I think I know what she was talking about.
Right now, I'm sipping a mug of black coffee. Not the tastiest thing in the world (the frou-frou stuff tastes best), but it wakes me up. I need it today.
My problem is, I have a hard time writing unless my heart is exploding. Okay, maybe not exploding, but feeling intensely. This becomes a bit of a hassle, because ninety percent of the time I'm not there.
My guess is that the same is true of you. Do you have a few things that you do just because you love them? Do they make you feel awake, as if today's your first day and you're sensing everything afresh? Maybe you feel energized when you're writing music. Maybe you sense the passion when you run or swim or speak your mind. Maybe you get worked up when you talk politics. Whatever your "thing" is, that passion helps keep you going. Sometimes you have to pump yourself full of coffee to trick your body into imitating that passion, but you can't replace the real thing. That passion is what makes you, you.
You and I are most alive when we are passionate about something. Our brains speed up. We become more sensitive to our surroundings. Our emotions take an exit from "Average," and we start to feel intensely. I think there's a meaning behind this phenomenon.
We were hardwired for passion.
Not just momentary emotional highs.
Not short-lived bursts of inspiration.
You and I were created to have overall purpose etched into our lives. That purpose becomes a passion that-whether we always feel it or not-helps to guide our decisions and defines the way we live.
We're meant to have a cause-a mission. There's a reason for the "wildness in us."
Though school, relationship drama, worries, and the general buzz of life can steal our attention away-we're meant for more. Our wildness was created on purpose, an echo of our Creator. Call it a longing for forever in a world of what's temporary; call it a cry to the heavens for some unbroken place to stand. We were created for God. While we may funnel our passion in other things-like school, friends, status, success, popularity, and daily worries-we were originally designed to funnel our passion to giving God glory.
We were made for more than a list of causes. We were made for One.
Some people who recognized their particular wildness allowed their lives to be changed, single-mindedly pouring all their passion into that single purpose. One young mother in ancient Africa threw herself so completely on the Cause that when the emperor himself tried to make her give it up, she chose imprisonment instead. Time after time, Perpetua was commanded to give up the Cause. She refused, even as she faced the beasts in the arena that would take her life. And you know what? To the death, she knew she'd chosen well. The Cause was more valuable than life.
One Scottish woman became so passionate about the Cause that she determined to share it with others. Amy Carmichael left home and traveled to India, where she worked to rescue orphan girls from sex slavery, long before sex trafficking became a widely publicized issue. She did not return to her homeland, but poured out her years helping children the world had forgotten. She's buried in India where her adoptive children built a birdbath over her grave, to remember the beauty of her life.
It was the love of the Cause that led a pastor to say, after spending night after night chained in a Chinese prison simply for preaching the gospel, "I will preach until I die."
Like heroes and history-changers throughout time, you know you were made for something beyond yourself. If you've ever felt afraid of that ultimate purpose, don't be. It's wooing you. You've felt it sneak up on you, taking a giant spoon and stirring up your soul, calling you in a voice that seeps into your bones and makes itself unforgettable.
The ultimate Cause is calling you.
Too often, we confuse the Cause with other causes with small c's. I've mistaken it tons of times, pursuing wild goose chases like beauty, acceptance, and even "respectable causes" like other people's esteem or love. (Who doesn't want to feel respected and cherished?) But those chases have left me empty-handed, feeling silly and used.
Here's the only thing I can say: If you and I come face to face with the Cause, I guarantee we will never be the people we were before. We will cease to revolve around thesun as our lives find a new, blazing center. Our search fora purpose to define our existence will end. We will not run out of questions, but we will, at last, find the Answer to all things.
Hannah Farver is a college student, writer, website blogger, speech and debate coach, and she has been interviewed on ABC. She also embarked on a national conference tour for young women. Like most people her age she doesn't know exactly what the future holds, but for now she is planning on a career in media-and more writing, of course. She lives outside Dallas, Texas. Learn more about Hannah's book Uncompromising: A Heart Claimed By a Radical Love.
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