Being back in school has been a bit of a weird thing. I’m fully online, getting my Masters in Divinity, which has been exciting as ministry (in whatever form it may take) is what I want to pursue. In these online classes there are discussion boards, which means you have to write a post and then reply to other students. It’s the most encouraging platform, because every reply you make and made on your posts agrees with you and says, “this was a really great post!” You feel like a million bucks on every discussion board.
One of these boards, I made an introductory post about why I was in this master’s program. I talked about how I have a passion for the next generation and want people to know they are fully known and fully loved. I mentioned that I wasn’t sure what that may look like, possibly being a part of a startup church or planting one myself. One of the replies was from a student who was talking about how they have a passion for being a church planter; which is such a great passion to have! There was then a reply to that student, from a student that then said something like, you should take this online test to see if you really could plant a church because it isn’t for everyone.
What a dream killer!
I decided to just ignore the one dude, and try to encourage the future church planter. That moment made me frustrated, because I myself have faced similar people. You share your passions and someone doesn’t think or want you to succeed.
The truth is, passions push us into our purpose.
I think all of us are passionate. There are things in our lives where we want to step in and make a difference. Sometimes it could be related to ministry or it could be some kind of business or personal mission you have. Whatever that passion might be, there is a purpose behind it.
When we choose to follow after Christ, we are called to a higher purpose. Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God with everything and love others like yourself. He then, after dying on the cross and coming back to life, left his followers with one important task; the purpose for your new life.
Matthew 28:19-20 is known as the great commission because Jesus says, “So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”
That is our purpose. It’s not saying that everyone must go overseas, unless that’s what your passion is for, it is simply saying that in every aspect of life, this is the new focus you need to have. Every place you find yourself in, you can be a light in a very dark world. Your passions inside of you, have been put there for a reason, you are unique and have a purpose.
It breaks my heart when people share what they are passionate about and another person shoots that dream down or gatekeeps you from feeling like you can do it. The truth is, you have passions for a reason, so let that fuel the purpose you have been created for. I think it’s not only important to understand how your passions can fuel your purpose, but how you can encourage others doing the same.
When I look at my own life, as I have grown and changed, my passions have too. One thing that I always remember, are the people in my life who have encouraged me. I think of Marshal who told me in middle school that he knew I was going to do great things. I think of the friends in my life like Tyler and Seth who helped me know how to fully be myself and not put on masks. I think of my family who have always supported me and helped me in the directions I have taken. I think of people who I have looked up to like D-Will and Amanda who exemplify people who care deeply. I think of my dear Danielle who has walked through the toughest storms with me and continually shows love and pushes me to be who I have been created to be.
Sure, I remember the negative, but I have to choose to focus on the positives. I know that my passions are here for a reason, and that reason is to fulfill the purpose God has over my life. In your own life, focus on those passions and don’t let anyone talk down to you, focus on the encouraging voices, because God has a purpose over your life.
You are fully known and fully loved by God, take those passions and step into your purpose.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__