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!