Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Drains Your Passion?

What diminishes your passion?

It's important you know the answer to this.

Without passion, life is a chore. A bore. And soon becomes little more than a blur of mindless, minimum, routine activity (with a heavy focus on television watching).

Since God calls us to become good stewards - careful managers - of the time, talents and gifts He has given us, a passion-less life is a problem. It's a hindrance to being all we can be in Christ.

I'm not talking about physical, romantic passion. Not necessarily. Though this applies there too.  I'm talking about your passion for life, for work, for nurturing others. Your passion for growth and spiritual fruit.

So what it is that diminishes that in you?

I'll tell you two things I know drains my passion.

1) CRITICISM -  I love being taught, coached, and helped to improve! But I hate feeling judged or criticized for my lack or my failures. Criticism definitely drains me. 

Often the difference is a matter of how the person approaches me with their correction.  How they phrase it or frame it. And whether I feel there is respect and caring behind what they're saying about me or my work.

Interestingly, criticism can fuel some people - they get charged up to prove the person wrong. To do what they said can't be done. But it doesn't quite work that way for me. I need to feel valued if not supported.

When I feel valued and supported, I can typically run through brick walls. When I don't, I'm likely to quit. And go eat chocolate.

2) COMPARISON - One of the fastest ways I kill my own passion - for my work, my home, my hobby, my family, my body, my ministry, or even the quality of my walk with God - is to compare it with someone else's.

There is a line between learning from others, getting ideas from others, getting inspired by others to fuel your own efforts, and digging your passion a grave with the tombstone engraved: I'll never be like them.

There's a continuum that on the right side side says "Wow, that's inspiring! I want to do my work well too," and on the left side says, "Why bother! Everyone is already doing it so well that I don't have a chance."

It's helpful for me to take inspiration from others, but full-on envy withers my passion like grass in a drought. I have to watch out for that.

I don't have a lot of control over how constructively someone critiques me. Or how they might compare me to themselves or someone else. I can't control their assessment of me. And my gut reaction is likely to feel drained if it feels harsh.

But I can choose how I will respond to it, even if I feel drained.

And I have lots of control over how I critique myself, and how I compare myself to others. I just have to exercise it. That's what I'm personally working on right now.

What drains me may not drain you, and vice versa. But it's important to know what drains you and if or how you can counter that. I'll talk more in my next post about my process on learning to counter it.

As I said on Monday, burn out is common, but it's also curable. Thank God for that!


  1. Good subject. Passion..a mighty big word and with it expectations. Does everyone have to have a "passion"? What if someone doesn't know what their passion is? It's easy to feel drained trying to figure out what that passion is. Maybe we could back up a bit and really define what is PASSION and how do you get it , find it??

    1. Terrific comment - thank you. It shows me I need to clarify.

      In this post I am not using the word "passion" as you described it as "a passion," or as in the thing you most want or are called to do. I'm not talking your life's purpose, though many use the word that way.

      I'm talking here more about the *feeling* of passion. That energy, optimism, or excitment that propels or sustains you. That makes you want to get out of bed and do whatever it is you do. I'm talking about how you feel when you do whatever work is on your to-do list. The zeal with which you approach your job, your marriage, parenting, housekeeping, tonight's meal, whatever you're doing in life.

      And if not energy and excitement, at least peace and not dread. I'm talking about living and not sleepwalking through our days, more so than about which tasks our days contain.

      Of course the more our days contain tasks that align with how God made us and what He's called us to do, generally the more passion (feeling) we live with. But not always - we can lose the passion (feeling) for our life's passion (calling). Hope that helps clairify.

  2. Your posts lately have been so motivating, and I've enjoyed reading them, Rachel. I like your angle on this one about passion. When I think of passion I often think of it as a calling or purpose, but as you have so importantly pointed out, it's a feeling of passion that moves us in a direction. Thinking about what drains me and how to counter it is definitely something for me to ponder over this weekend : )

    1. Pam, I'm so glad you've been enjoying the direction of blog and the vibe of my posts lately. I aim to keep it up. And let me say, thanks for being a faithful reader who takes the time to comment. I appreciate you!

  3. I am also loving your recent posts. I think respect is huge in any cirticism from others and the ciritcism that I offer myslef is to tweak each endeavor. I'm hard on myself, but only to produce better and better, but r e s p e c t is really big for me and when offered suggestions in respect, it fuels me to do better and try to do even more to surpase any expectations, but I am my best critic as I see new opportunites to do whatever it is I am doing .

    1. I totally agree on the "respect" piece. So glad you are enjoying the posts. Thanks for taking the time to tell me that. And stick around for more to come ... ;)

  4. Rachel,

    That's an intriguing question that I am going to have to ponder further... Hmmm. "What drains my passion?"


    Jennifer Dougan

    1. Glad to make you think about it, Jennifer. Seeing passion (energy, optimism, zeal - whatever you want to call it) as a stewardship issue has been revolutionary for me.

      Thanks for stopping by today!


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