Several years ago, one of my twentysomething male friends met someone. He was clearly falling head over heels, and he had that gushy, dazed look of being in love written all over his face. When I asked him about the girl, he said something I have never forgotten. After describing her beauty and personality, he concluded, “She just makes me fly inside.”
I smile every time I think about that expression. And it’s a phrase I now use to describe my passion. Writing makes me fly inside. When I sit down to write, I feel the holy hum of God’s presence. There are days when writing is truly a spiritual experience that awakens the very fibers of my being as I do what I was created to do. This isn’t something that just writers experience; anyone who has responded to the passion that God placed inside of them can know this feeling. I’ve listened to people from different walks of life — from scientists to psychologists to maintenance personnel — describe their work in the same way: They are living out a response to the passion that burns inside of them. Their work is something they can’t not do, either.
Taking the Risk
Pursuing your passion and getting to the point where you can fly can be rather turbulent. People who pursue their passion have to take risks. Many of them live on the edge — personally, relationally, and financially — yet risk is a normal part of life — especially for individuals who are willing to pursue their passion. Anyone who has ever started a new business, made an investment, stepped on stage, displayed their work, or mailed in an application has taken a risk. They risk financial loss, rejection, and failure.
Yet when we take a risk — especially one that evolves from trusting God or being obedient to him — we are given an incredible opportunity to grow. Learning to fly is risky business. Crash landings usually hurt, and it’s hard to get up, brush yourself off, and try again. Stepping out and doing what you were created to do rather than what is expected of you is hard. Even faith is a risk, so living a life of following Jesus is littered with risk. There are so many people who have mistakenly given up on their passion because life hasn’t gone the way they expected or thought it should go. As a result they have quenched the embers of the passion within their hearts. Yet God invites us to take a risk and allow the embers to come back to life. Any step — even a small, incremental step — can allow your passion to reignite.
God wants us to live in a posture where our hands are open and extended, not clinging to the things of this world. He designed us to live openhanded lives so that the passions we possess don’t possess us. I have a little picture in my mind of God handing me a large diamond. If I hold the diamond too tightly, it becomes like glass and is able to cut and deform my hand. But if I hold it with an open hand, there is no way it can hurt me, and I’m able to share the beauty of the diamond with others.
The openhanded lifestyle is risky. People might take things from us, hurt us, or belittle us. But Jesus asks us to take the risk, and to show us how, he took it himself by laying down his own life. He demonstrated what an openhanded life looks like and how it can glorify God. As Ephesians 5:1-2 encourages, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
The willingness to risk and take a chance that you might fail is actually a gift. It gives depth and texture to life, and more importantly, it allows us to grow in our trusting relationship with God.
Courage requires the belief that something greater than yourself is at stake. It also asks you to trust that Someone greater is at work.
As you pursue your passion, remember that wherever you go, God goes before you. In Revelation 22:13, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” There is nowhere you will go that God has not already been.
Risk is a healthy part of life. But the good news is that you don’t have to face any risk alone. God is with you. And isn’t a little risk worthwhile if it means you get to fly?
Adapted from What the Heck Should I Do With My Life? Copyright © 2006 Margaret Feinberg, used with permission.