Thursday, July 15, 2010

Interest vs. Passion

As I was browsing through the kids' section of a high-end retail shop, one particular book underneath a pile of fairy-tale pop-up cubes and boardgames called my attention. It was a book written by teens for teens. It talks about how gifted kids differentiate their passions from their interests.

A 14y.o. says that 'interest' is when her friends idolize a celebrity, until the next big star comes along. Passion is staying interested even after all her friends have moved on. Another girl describes passion as her love for science particularly insects. What she does is she gathers and studies all information about it until she feels like she's living in the world of roaches.

These cute & insightful explanations made me think of my own passion & interests.

I discovered mine through an 18-year looong process. Way back in grade 1, I started having my piano lessons on Sunday mornings. I enjoyed reading the notes and discovering the melodies behind the black stemmed eggs dancing in my piano books. But on weeknights I would hear my mom reminding me to practice for at least 30 minutes. I had done so quite grudgingly.

Alongside piano, I took some drawing and painting lessons. I really enjoyed them, except I rarely put them into practice. I got to live out my undercover Picasso only when I felt inspired or when I was extremely down or when needed in arts classes.

I also tried various sports. Result: I acquired a trauma for all balls bigger than a tennis ball.

Then came the greeting card making. It was a fun hobby. I enjoyed discovering the mechanisms of making pop-up, 3d, rotatable cards. I planned to make a hundred, but I stopped at 38 when I couldn't figure out what they were for. Then, I tried baking. It was exciting at first, but when people I cared for shunned sugary, baked goods, I got a little bit discouraged.

Just recently, I tried sewing. I've been making home-made journals and some weird out-of-this-world cushion. I'll show them to you next time. I'm still liking it.

I guess all these are mere interests. Like a fad, they come and go. With a happy trial and an exciting discovery, you keep them like a bestbud. But later as discouragements come or boredom strikes, you'd leave them for the next best thing.

Interests are external based. You started a hobby so you may sell your products. You joined a music band to impress your crush. Or you learned piano because your mom enrolled you in some compulsary weekend music lessons.

What I discovered about passion is that it becomes the air you breathe. It holds your soul captive with an intense desire to do something meaningful. It dwells in your thoughts when you work, eat, shop or play. It becomes a healthy addiction. Recently, I discovered that my passion is to learn more about our creator and our life. I enjoy chewing bits and pieces of His food as He brings them on my table everyday. And I long to share it through words of wisdom, of encouragement, of love.

This is my passion. To write about Him. To talk about Him. To serve Him. And to be a blessing to you (yes you!). Passion is not with my piano, for I did not see my future in it. Nor is it my greeting-card making stint, for I did not see much purpose in making a whole lot of it. It is also not in baking cakes, for I desire something different. Without vision, purpose, or unquenchable desire, then your "passion" is nothing but a simple interest.

Once you've discovered your passion or what seems to be your passion, pray about it. Be it in music, arts, business, writing, science or politics. God has given you that intense passion for a purpose. And only if you're able to do it for the Lord's greater glory, will it be fully quenched, fully joyful, fully contented and fully successful.

"Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark."
— Henri Frederic Amiel

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