The Problem With Passion

by Larry Hehn on July 17, 2013


“Follow your passion.”

It has become the mantra of a generation.

At quick glance, it might even seem to make sense.

But don’t go tattooing it across your forearm or between your shoulder blades just yet. First, watch some early auditions for American Idol. Or America’s Got Talent. Then realize how misleading your passion can be.

You may be passionate about something, but it doesn’t mean you are – or ever will be – any good at it. You may be passionate about something, but it doesn’t mean that it is – or ever will be – any good for you. Or others.

Passion can be fleeting. It can be misguided. As romantic and inspirational as it may sound, following your passion can get you into heaps of trouble.

“Romeo and Juliet followed their passion. Look where that got them.”
– Stephen Balkam

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that we are to live without passion.

What it does mean is we need to cultivate our passion, not submit to it carte blanche. We need to discover and develop it through following God’s direction.

Fact is, most people who are passionate about what they do, developed that passion over time. They did more than identify a personal desire and follow it. Rather, they discovered a way to use their gifts to serve others, and it has grown into a passion.

The problem with passion? It needs to be directed, not followed.

Don’t follow your passion. Cultivate it.

All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.  But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)  – Ephesians 2:3-5

But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. – Jude 1:17-19

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricky Anderson July 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

What I’m passionate about changes every 4.5 minutes. I’d get dizzy if I followed my passion all the time.
Ricky Anderson recently posted..Robotic Teacher Agents – Guest Post for Jan MoyerMy Profile


Larry Hehn July 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Yep, a human pinball. I’m with you, Ricky!


Kevin Martineau July 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm

“Don’t follow your passion. Cultivate it.”

Those are great words of wisdom Larry!
Kevin Martineau recently posted..4 ways to find true fulfillmentMy Profile


Larry Hehn July 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Many thanks, Kevin!


David Rupert July 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Great and wise wisdom. And one other thing, “YOUR PASSION USUALLY WON”T PAY THE BILLS.”

Too many people fumble around in the arts and it frustrates them because they aren’t paid enough for their world.

Lose the frustration by getting a job and pursuing your passion with abandon in the off hours.
David Rupert recently posted..Photo-bombing GodMy Profile


Larry Hehn July 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Good point, David. Thanks for adding to this!


Carol Brown July 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm

You followed me on Twitter so I always look people up who do that and poke around their websites to see if I will follow back…yup, going to follow! But just to add to the thread there about passion and following feelings. I always say that some feelings tell us the truth, others do not. But always, feelings are like farts, they pass!


Larry Hehn July 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Carol! I like the feelings and farts analogy. Though I find that many guys are more reluctant to share their feelings. 😉


Carol Brown July 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

p.s. Love the beard and the beard growing contest!
Carol Brown recently posted..Don Nori and Carol Brown: The Destiny Image InterviewMy Profile


Larry Hehn July 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thank you again, Carol! It has been a lot of fun so far.


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