A good friend and I were on our way to a new raw juice bar in YYC when we inevitably started to talk about purpose and passion. He and I are buds because he’s an introverted deep thinker like me. He’s wise and quiet, which are traits I’m still learning from him. He’s calculated, intentional, and yet like the rest of us normal people, he has experienced doubts about this whole life gig too.

He’s got an incredible eye for photography and short films. Impressively the man is somewhat color blind but oh my, you should see his work. He also has a slight obsession with Acai Bowls, and this new juice bar promised Acai Bowls, so we went. One bowl was fifteen bucks so we decided to split. If it was really great, we’d get a second bowl.

I have to be honest; I’ve never tasted something so disgusting in my life. We each had a huge bite expecting nothing less than everything we’d ever known about yummy Acai Bowls. We’ve had them on Venice Beach and in his home. I downed Acai Bowls in Byron Bay and he fell in love with them in Brazil. They were always so tasty. This however, was not.

I took out a couple sticks of Juicy Fruit and we ducked out to head over to The Coffee Market for a cup of dark roast instead. I asked what he was doing with his passions, and he told me nothing much. He wasn’t sure he was even passionate about those things because they sometimes made him frustrated, annoyed, and weary of even working on them. It was hard work. It did not come easily. I understood him well enough. But that’s the thing about passion, isn’t it?

A little while ago, we talked about the definition of passion because it seemed our culture had redefined it by our own silly ideas. We shaped it by words like happiness and finding our bliss. Though these are lovely words, they are not the definition of passion. Passion isn’t easy and what we’re passionate about doesn’t immediately make us the expert. The gifts we’ve been given by God are invitations to be the student of God’s creativity over, and over again. And being the student isn’t easy, it’s fulfilling. It stretches, grows, and matures us. It is precisely the hope a loving Father would have for his kids.

Oftentimes, we catch the highlight reel of someone’s life and glorify their impact while minimizing the struggle without even realize we’re doing it. We know Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, and Mother Teresa by their deep reach in living passionately, but we often overlook how long, how hard, how often they had to persevere. Mandela met horrific opposition, with people calling him a terrorist after he was released from prison. Maya struggled through abuses unfathomable to tell her story when no one else was, and mother Teresa had faith for the masses, but hardly any for herself. Should we consider our story to be easy, with the same results as this?

What we need when we are tempted to keep life ‘easy’ is this:

  1. Stop Comparing Passions: You are your own person. We’re all running this race together; your only competition is yourself. Also, it would be a shame to oversee the struggle is real for others living out their purpose through their passions. Don’t do that to yourself or others; it minimizes the beauty of triumph in life.
  2. Check Yourself (before you wreck yourself, duh!): Are you passionate about something for your own gain, or for the benefit of others? Sometimes we allow what we’re passionate about to become selfish. In its original form, your passions are designed to show people to Jesus. Don’t take the stage; it only leads to disappointment and ruin.
  3. Prep, Prep, and Expect: You need to prep in order for your passions to be executed well. You need to prep for when it gets really tough (notice I said when, not if). And you need to have expectations. People living passionately allow their expectation to be a deep faith that God will use their passions for His name. Be that person.

Our best example of this non-easy living is Christ. It was the joy set before Christ to suffer the cross for the sake of our lives. He’s so passionate about us He was willing to leave heaven, become human, and die for us to know His love. Would we be willing to do that?

What I like most about my friend who is crazy for Acai Bowls is how deeply he wants to make the world a better place to be in. He is forever consumed with figuring out how to tell people through his passions that they’re loved, purposed, and important. And I know, though he doubts like the rest of us, he really will change the world.

Easy as that, right?