I have a knack for saying or writing things that resonate with some and infuriate others. I’ll make some big bold claim about a topic (like leadership or Christianity) that I’m passionate about. Someone won’t agree and will be offended. They’ll let me know about it.
It’s always uncomfortable. Always.
What Are You Passionate About?
I know that there’s something in there. Maybe you’ve got a new idea that’s been lighting your fire. Perhaps you’re starting a new non-profit to tackle an issue like homelessness. We’ve all got things that truly ignite our internal passion.
Further, we all find ourselves in situations that either confirm or challenge those passions. I’ll share my faith here as an illustration. If you don’t agree please do stick around. I think you’ll find the context here to be universally applicable.
Environments that Make It Easy
On Sunday mornings, I’m on fire for Jesus. I can sing at the top of my lungs in worship. That environment confirms everything that I believe in. There’s no friction; no rub against the things that I hold most important. It’s safe. It’s comfortable.
It’s easy to be passionate here, but its commonplace. There’s nothing bold about it.
Environments that Make it Hard
On Monday morning, I’m back to the grind. I’m thrown back into the business world with people of all faiths and backgrounds; people whose company I enjoy and abilities I respect. In this world, my faith is supposed to stay strictly personal.
It’s hard to be passionate here, yet the Gospel demands that I boldly share the truth.
Your Part in the Story
Each one of us has a passion for something. The thing that keeps us from sharing it is fear. We are all terribly afraid that our passion will be received as silly or offensive. We live in terror of losing the approval of our friends and associates.
Its as if their approval was as important to us as oxygen. I promise you, its not.
Your response can go down one of two ways. First, you can squash your passion by succumbing to the outside pressure. This will save you from having to ruffle too many feathers. You can go on with your quiet life. Enjoy.
The second option is to throw gas on the fire. Don’t just stay passionate on the inside. Live a life in outward expression of your inward conviction. Let people know who you are and exactly what you stand for. In short, you can live your life boldly. I like this option.
Prepare to Be a Fool
By definition, living boldly will make you a fool in the eyes of many. Go be a rockstar for homeless advocacy and your socially conscious friends will love you. Your party friends, however, will look at you like you’re a overly idealistic wing-nut.
True passion is always worth the pain.
You’ll be laughed at, ridiculed, knocked around, discounted, and marginalized. It comes with the territory. Jesus came to save the world and the world responded by beating and hanging Him from a cross.
As evidenced by our upcoming Easter celebration, He still made out alright in the end.
A Prayer for Boldness
One of my favorite stories in the Bible comes from the book of Acts. The apostles Peter and John had just been released from the custody of the Sadducees. They were strictly warned to stop preaching. The clear message: talking about Jesus will not end well for you.
So what did the disciples do? They prayed.
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,” Acts 4:29 ESV
No cop outs here. The apostles didn’t pray for deliverance from oppression. They didn’t pray for protection from their agressors. Instead, they prayed that God would grant them boldness in the face of that imminent danger and oppression.
God responded by sending the Holy Spirit and shaking the place where they were gathered. Ask for that same boldness in the pursuit of your passion. He is faithful to reply in earth-shaking fashion. Just watch.
Do you find it difficult to live your life boldly?
Photo credit: Shoshi – Goofy, right? I love it.