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Intersection of Life and Faith

Eight Ways to Discover Your Passions

  • Carole Gift Page Guest Author
  • 2001 7 Sep
Eight Ways to Discover Your Passions
1. Focus on the three aspects of passion (love, hate, and fear). Then write down the three things you love the most, the three things you hate the most, and the three things you fear the most. Write quickly, the first thoughts that come to you. Be scrupulously honest with yourself. You'll find it is easiest to put down what you love, a little harder to determine what you hate, and hardest of all to admit what you fear. But you may experience a liberating sensation as you face your fears and name them one by one.
Need a little prompting?
When I took this quiz many years ago, I put down "God, my family, and writing" for what I loved most. What I hated most was abortion, and what I feared most was the loss of a child (that fear was shortly realized, but more about that later).
2. Write a paragraph about each of the passions you've listed, telling more about each one and what prompted you to feel this way. For example, you love quilting because it was something you did with your grandmother when you were a little girl. You hate divorce because you came from a broken home. You fear public speaking because you froze up in high school speech class.
3. Write a sentence expressing how God can use each passion in your life for your good and His glory. For example, love: A penchant for cooking and entertaining involves a gift of hospitality that can bless your family and community. Hate: Your hatred of abortion or child abuse could lead you to work to overcome these tragedies in our society. Fear: God used my shyness to teach me to rely on Him completely when speaking in public. Maybe you've never thought about how God can use your passions for His glory. That's OK. Do your best for now. We'll answer this question further in a future chapter.
4. If you had an entire day to do anything you pleased, and time and money weren't a consideration, what would you do?
5. What do you do just for yourself because it feeds your soul and renews your spirit? Or what do you wish you could do if you just had the time, money, or opportunity?
6. If you could be anything you desired in life, regardless of time, money, and circumstances, what would it be?
7. Which do you prefer -- working with your mind, working with your hands, or working with other people? Describe how the approach you prefer is evidenced in your daily life. For example, "I'm an accountant who enjoys working with my mind. ... I'm an artist who loves working with my hands. ... I'm a social worker who thrives on helping others."
8. Is it possible the primary work you do at home or in your career is not your preferred approach? For example, "I'm a technical writer, but I'd rather be out among people. ... I'm a junior high school teacher, but I'd rather be in a library doing historical research. ... I'm a legal secretary, but I'd rather be a seamstress."
If the work you do differs from the approach you prefer, describe the conflicting feelings you experience. Can you think of ways to utilize more fully the technique you prefer? For example, if you're a copy editor who would rather be out interacting with people, you might consider teaching a Sunday School class or leading a women's Bible study. If you're a college professor who would rather be working with your hands, take a weekend art class. Even if you can't change careers, find some way to indulge that area of your life you most enjoy.
Or perhaps you find that you truly enjoy not just one but two or three of these methods. You love painting, but you also enjoy teaching others to paint. You're a computer programmer who gets a kick out of running her own business. My passion for writing (the mind) won out over my love of drawing and painting (the hands), but over the years I've come to enjoy teaching writers and speaking to women's groups (people). And, of course, some occupations require that you possess skills in more than one area. A lawyer or a physician had better have a good mind and also be skilled at dealing with people. The same rule applies to teachers.
After answering these questions, do you have a better sense of who you are, what you like, and what's important to you? You may have only begun to scratch the surface of long-buried emotions. The sad truth is that many of us have never really gotten acquainted with our inner selves, the person we are under all the layers of personal, family, and professional commitments. We have allowed ourselves to drift from one activity to another without ever analyzing whether it's something that fulfills our deepest hungers and yearnings.
But all of that is about to change, for we are on a journey of discovery. We are shedding our sense of apathy and malaise and tapping into the passions and skills that make us unique.

Excerpted from Becoming a Woman of Passion: Discover the Joyous Woman God Created You to Be, by Carole Gift Page. Used by permission of Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House Company, copyright 2001. All rights to this material are reserved. Materials are not to be distributed to other Web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Mich.,, 1-800-877-2665.

Carole Gift Page, a prolific author of 43 books, has received two Pacesetter Awards and the C.S. Lewis Honor Book Award.

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