If you spend any amount of time around me, you will find rather quickly that I really, really like to encourage people to find and follow their passions.
I believe that the real life experiences that come from such a pursue are a very good environment to see, enjoy, and share the Beauty of Jesus Christ. The first beneficiaries of that interaction of faith and practice is one self.
If going after one’s passion, if investing in one’s area of interest as a way for spiritual formation is so important and fundamental, then… why is Spiritual Transformation so difficult to come about?
Lets talk about some of the obstacles we may face in our journey.
I enjoy talking to my wife. The range of topics in our conversations go from the silly to the very serious. Of course, we don’t always agree and, some times, our conversations are more like debates, with both sides presenting compelling arguments to support each point of view.
If anything, our inclination to talk with one another implies certain level of affection among us. It is very difficult to talk with someone you do not like, for a long period of time.
You could say that conversations come naturally in our relationship. And depending on how a particular day has gone, we actually look forward to talk to one another.
Our natural inclination to talk, I believe, shows how healthy our relationship really is.
In a way, it is the same with our spiritual health.
With so many good things to do while pursuing one’s passion (or area of interest), it is hard to maintain consistency, to avoid distractions from our main goal.
I find it ironical that the challenge comes not from choosing between good and bad options, for our pursue, but instead the challenge comes from choosing between good and excellent.
Good alternatives can derail our plans of using our passion as a way to see spiritual formation happening in us, our Support Team, and in our Target Group.
How can we keep the right direction? How can we keep the main thing being the main thing?
For that, we need a set of Core Values
Recently I had to go to Tucson, AZ, to see one of my coaches (I have two coaches. One helps me with leadership development, and the other with preaching / pastoral ministries). Of course, I packed my running gear to use it a couple of times while on Tucson; there is something special about running in the desert.
Now, I am what some people may consider a minimalist runner: I do not run with MP3 players, unless is a very long run I do not carry water, and most of the time I run without shoes. But when I am at an unfamiliar location, I do carry my Forerunner GPS watch. This one I have is an older model – read it is the size of a brick – that I’ve got online… refurbished.
Needless to say, every now and then it does not work. And in this particular occasion in Tucson, it did not even turn on. Unfortunately, I found out about the malfunction of this device once I was already on the run, away from the hotel room. If I had double check it, I would have taken with me my stop watch, since if I cannot run for a distance (4 miles this time) I normally run for time (45 – 50 minutes).
The task oriented part of me got very uncomfortable. How am I suppose to know how far to go? was the question in my head. For an answer, I did something that I normally do not do.
I did not care.
One of the first thinks I’ve learned, in the pursue of my passions, is that things do not happen exactly the way I wanted or planned. It does not matter if you have a perfect plan for world domination (which I do have), or if you passion can address a very important need in the community (education… hello?), or even if you had an amazing start in your journey (yep, I also had one of those). In this adventure you must learn – you will learn – that flexibility is key.
My two biggest challenges, right now, in making The Gwinnett Chess Co. a Small Community are my Support Team and time with adults (parents). Out of the four invitations I sent out to be part of my ST, only one returned positive. Due to work schedules, it has been very difficult to connect with our players’ parents, specially the fathers.
All this got me thinking.