I realized recently how grateful I am for the calmness I have in my life nowadays... It wasn't always like this - I used to have a stressful job, stressful financial issues and a stressed marriage.
Happliy, I can look back over the last couple of years and feel blessed that my husband and I were able to make some drastic changes in our lives that changed the course we were on. We were able to find our joy again! In our work, in the kids, in our marriage - in every aspect of our daily lives.
I recently heard a sermon by Pastor Mel Haug entitled "Passion Killers" that I thought accurately described the many ways that the joy in our lives can be drained away from us... Here are some of the main points:
Things that kill the Passion in our lives:
- An Unbalanced Schedule - "Input vs. Output" Does what you take in balance with what you give out? (and vice-versa) Sometimes the most fulfilling moments are when we give all we have - time, energy, love - to someone else.
- Unused Talents - Do you have a gift that isn't being shared with others? For example, does it do any good to have an amazing singing voice but not let other people hear it? Or be able to paint the most beautiful pictures that nobody sees? We can do alot to bless others by sharing our gifts and talents. And guess what we often get in return? Joy!
- Unconfessed Sin - "Guilt and Passion don't go together" We cant be passionate about anything in our lives if we are distracted by guilt we might feel about an unresolved issue. If we've done something wrong and need fogiveness, unload that guilt and let go of the burden.
- Unresolved Conflict - "Conflict drains our Passion" There are 3 main emotions that drain our Passion; Resentment, Jealousy & Prolonged Anger. Job 5:2 says. "Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple." Regarding Anger, Job 13:4 says, "You may tear out your hair in anger, but will that destroy the earth? Will it make the rocks tremble?" Basically, its saying, "what good does being angry do?" Forgiveness means letting the person who wronged you off the hook - let them off of YOUR hook and put them on God's hook. He'll take care of it for you.
- An Unsupported Lifestyle - "We arent meant to go through life alone" We need fellowship and support in our lives. In prison, what is the ultimate punishment? To be separated from others and put into solitary confinement - it's torturous to be alone. Ecclesiastes 4:9 & 10 says. "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." Hebrews 10:24 & 25 says. "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near."
- An Unclear Purpose - "Activity without Direction" Sometimes we forget why God put us here on Earth. Is it to make money and accumulate material things? Or, is it to spend our time helping & serving others? Doing what we can to improve the community around us? Isaiah 49:4 says, "But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD's hand; I will trust God for my reward." When we work for material gain, its an empty accomplishment. If we work to glorify God, that work is never in vain!
- An Undernourished Spirit - God is Passionate about us! He loves us and wants our lives to be fulfilling and joyful. Exodus 34:14 says "You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you." Spend time with God - time in His Word. He nourishes our souls with His Word and the promises He makes. Psalms 107:43, "Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the LORD."
- Reignite your Passion! - Dont allow the various "Passion Killers" to dictate the course your life will take - God is passionate about you! 1 John 4:9 says, "God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him." Now, that's what I call Passion...