Passion is a hard thing to describe or pin down. We sense when we have it and when it’s gone, but we aren’t sure how to explain where it comes from, or why we have it, or what to do when it goes away.
And because this is the case, it can be really tricky to figure out how to get passion back when we perceive it has gone away. It seems so finicky, at times it appears as if there is nothing we can do to will it to come or to go. We are at its mercy. When it comes, we have to be thankful, and when it goes, we must just wait.
I don’t think this is true, despite how it seems.
And I think this conversation is important because, if you work in or around a ministry, chances are you will “lose” your passion at one time or another. It will feel really disheartening, and it might even cause you to walk away from the ministry. I hope it won’t, but it might.
When that time comes—when you feel the passion fading—here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Passion is not a Feeling
Passion often manifests itself as a feeling, which helps us to know it is there, but true passion is a gift from God and can’t be taken away. He gives us passion about certain things in our lives (our career, for the lost, for our marriages) as a way of helping us move in the right direction. Passion invites us closer to Him.
Just because you don’t “feel” passion, doesn’t mean you don’t have it.
Feelings change over time, and sometimes passion for something still exists, even when we don’t have the heightened sense of emotion we once felt. So if you stop feeling passionate, don’t be discouraged. Ask God to show you the passion he gave you and to help you rediscover the motivation you once had.
2. To cultivate passion, take risks with God
Often our feelings of passion fade because we begin to get comfortable. We aren’t facing the challenges we once were, so of course motivation wanes. We don’t need it anymore. We’re coasting through the events of life because they’re easy.
So, if your passion for ministry has faded, ask yourself if you’re still taking big risks with God, still asking him to do things you couldn’t do on your own. When you live life on the edge, willing to take big leaps for the sake of the Kingdom, passion tends to show up again.
God will give you what you need to complete the task at hand.
So take a look at the task in your hands: Do you even need Him?
3. To keep passion thriving, take care of yourself.
Often I think the feelings of passion disappear simply because we’re tired. When we’re driving hard after a goal, and we spend all our energy in that direction, after awhile our bodies just wear out, and they can’t feel anything anymore.
It’s not that the passion is gone, it’s just that our bodies can’t shoulder the weight of the fear, frustration and anxiety anymore.
To protect itself, our body just shuts down.
So to make sure passion stays active, make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Think about eating right, sleeping enough and taking time to spend in prayer, or in the Scripture each day. If your body isn’t functioning well, there is no question it is going to reflect your spirit.
Justin Lathrop serves as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for Southeastern University, and is the author of The Likeable Christian.