I’ve spent a good deal of time helping people discover how God wired them and how they could use their unique design to make a difference in the world. It’s no secret that to find your “place of service,” you must understand your gifts, abilities, skills, personality, and passions. And there are loads of assessments to help you clarify who God made you to be such as Strengthsfinder, Myers-Briggs, and Assessme.
All of these are important, but I’ve found that “passion” is the hardest one for people to pinpoint. Without passion, you’ll find yourself on cruise control. You’ll go through the motions with little emotion to keep you engaged. You can have an exceptionally honed set of skills, but without passion, your skills will yawn with boredom. You’ll scratch your head and wonder, “Is this all there is?”
One step that will help you discover your passions is to answer three questions. These questions provide a practical framework to help you explore your passions.
1. Which needs, problems, or issues do you feel challenged to serve?
These are often cause-oriented passions that bring great levels of satisfaction because you feel like you’re truly making a difference with the world’s biggest needs. Some of these causes might include relational issues (marriage, parenting, abuse), emotional issues (insecurities, anger, emotional health), social issues (sanctity of life, poverty, homelessness, hunger, justice), political issues (policy, law), educational issues (tutoring, mentoring, at-risk children), financial issues (stewardship, financial counseling), or health issues (disease, disabilities, fitness, nutrition, disorders, addictions). This list could be endless, but you get the point.
2. Which people do you feel moved to help?
Passions are sometimes tied to the people we will serve more than what we will actually do. You might be moved to help a specific age group (children, youth, adults, seniors), gender (male or female), culture (a certain nationality or people group), or a very specific audience who you connect with best. The best strategy is to identify the audience you feel drawn to serve and then determine how your unique skills can best help that particular audience.
3. Which activities do you deeply enjoy?
Finally, some passions are tied to the activities we enjoy doing the most. These activities my be:
- Heart Activities – These are activities that rely on empathy, relationship-building, encouraging, connecting, and hospitality.
- Head Activities – These activities often involve dreaming, researching, creating, strategizing, and organizing.
- Hand Activities – These activities involve things like helping, serving, building, performing, and constructing.
If you’re struggling to figure out your passions, ask yourself these three questions. Reflect on your past experience and really hunt for those times when you felt alive and full of energy. Then combine your God-given abilities with your newly discovered passion to make your mark on the world.
Question: What else have you found helpful in discovering passions?