I was recently convicted in a sermon about biblical manhood (go figure).
“I man without passion or vision is in a very dark place.”
Those words cut straight through me. I never have vision and often lack passion. I can count on one hand the things I am actually passionate about, and am slightly embarrassed to say that one of them is the new batman movie thats coming out this summer.
I took a long hard look at my life after that Sunday morning service. What had happened to me? I used to be full of such elaborate dreams and an equally elaborate passion to see them through. I was going to be a tornado chaser, a writer, a filmmaker, a musician, a father, a husband, a leader, and all at age 22. I had large dreams and was sure they were going to fall into place. I just had to be at the right place at the right time. As I got older, those dreams slipped away. It turns out you have to work hard to make dreams happen, and the sacrifices required I was not willing to make. Now I seem to walk around like an injured animal, quietly reserved to my fate of mediocrity.
Sure maybe those dreams were silly, unrealistic, idealistic, destined to fail or leave me unsatisfied, but to lose all vision is a scary, dark, depressing place to be indeed. Where is my hope?
When I was 6-years-old I asked Jesus to come into my heart at a Christian illusionists show. I had no idea what I was doing, but the guy was doing magic, and I wanted whatever he had going on. Growing up in church really made this decision inconsequential. I was going to accept Jesus as my personal savior one way or another before middle school. All my friends were doing it, and I would not have been left out.
To be quit honest, my decision to follow Jesus was more cultural, or out of a desire to fit in, for the better part of my life. It wasn’t until college began to wind down, and I found myself no longer surrounded by a circle of friends and peers that were believing the same things as me that I really began to take stock of the decision I had made all those years ago.
After a season of extreme doubt and running from all things Christian, I hit a wall. That is when I really encountered the Gospel for the first meaningful time in my life. In that moment I abandoned all the other plans I had made for my life, because I knew that I needed Jesus and I had to figure out what that looked like. I had to make new plans that were Jesus plans. I was so excited about following Jesus, I missed the best part. I didn’t trust Jesus to redeem my passions and dreams. Instead I foolishly thought that I had to be stripped down to nothing, so that He could rebuild me from a clean slate into the type of righteous person I thought a Jesus follower should be.
The good news, the Gospel news, is that isn’t how God works. He created us for something. Sure, we turned our backs on him from birth and tried to reign supreme over our own lives, usurping His authority, but that doesn’t change the fact that He made us to begin with. He doesn’t want us to become Christian automatrons with no dreams or fire, but He wants to redirect those talents, passions, desires, gifts we were born with for His Kingdom and Glory.
This is the great thing about the Gospel. Our passion and vision get redeemed and used for something that actually matters and will continue on after us. The things I have been placing my identity in, that have been failing and leaving me feeling hopelessly stuck and plain, those things don’t matter. What matters is who God says I am, and the vision He has cast for me and His people, and the passions and gifts He has given me for this life. Its exciting to know that I am chosen to be apart of that, to see what He has done in me, and what He is doing in others. When I stop and take stock of those things, its hard not to feel a passion rise in my chest for His Kingdom.
My whole life I have been trying to change myself into the picture I have in my head of what a Jesus follower is supposed to look like. I have not been seeking how I can work for God’s Kingdom as I am now, with what He has already blessed me with. He will work the other stuff out, I just have to follow Him now, with the passions and desires He has given me.
Now I have the freedom to dream bigger than I ever have before with the hope that I can do all things through Christ for His glory!