I heard this question asked at a conference recently, (one filled mainly with photographers, hence the photo-specific wording), and it stopped me in my tracks. “If God took away your camera, what would you do?” Fill in the blank for yourself, if God took away your _________, what would you do? If I lost my ability to sew and illustrate, what would I do? Are you living out your day to day in fulfillment of your passions or your purpose?
Passion is amazing, it’s necessary, it’s the drive we have as artists to create, but it shouldn’t ultimately be why we create. If your passion is painting, and it’s also become your purpose, then if something happened and you were no longer able to paint, would you not be crushed? But if your passion is designing, but your purpose is loving people well, or encouraging them, or empowering women, or whatever it may be and designing is simply a way for you to fulfill that purpose, then if you lose your ability to design, you wouldn’t give up, you would instead find a new passion that you can use to fulfill that same purpose.
I was scrolling through instagram yesterday on a break, and I came across this post from Erin Youngren (if you don’t follow The Youngrens, pause for a sec and do it now!) where she said, “While passions may come and go, we were built with a purpose.” Yes!! My passions have changed drastically over the years, ranging from the dream to be a professional ballerina, to attending the Naval Academy and being deployed at sea (no joke!!) to education to a long list of other things, but it wasn’t until I started to ask myself years ago what I saw my purpose as did I start to clarify which passions I truly wanted to pursue, and which ones I felt would let me live out my purpose on a daily basis.
Creating bridal gowns, designing lingerie, painting figure studies, and playing with floral prints are my passions. But my end goal is not to create a gorgeous gown for a bride. It’s to encourage her, to encourage her marriage, to support her, to serve her, and to spend my days working in a way that I can still be a present figure in my littles lives, and daily attempt to show them the love and grace and truth and beauty of my Maker.
I’ve seen so many artists become burned out because their passion and purpose has become one and the same and as soon as that happens, and your passion begins to fail you, you feel like you’re drowning and just can’t find the surface anymore. And it’s so easy to let that happen, which is why I want to encourage you to stop for a minute, and really think. Ask yourself, “What is my purpose?” And write it down. Share it, frame it, do something with it so that you don’t forget it!
What are your passions & purpose? Are your passions defining you or is your purpose guiding you? If you lost the ability to ever do [fill in the blank] again, would you be ok?
I would LOVE for you to leave a comment below and share, I really would love to hear!