One of the many things I found annoying about high school was the constant pressure, beginning as a junior and culminating into the end of the senior year, at finding the question, ‘What Do I Do With My Life Now’?
The answer for me when I was 18, and really up until recently was, ‘I have absolutely no idea.’ I was good at computers, so I went to college for a couple of quarters and hated it. I tried finishing my degree a few times, but there was no passion in it. I always thought this was weird until I recently started listening to the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, where the author talks about introverts getting their motivation from within, from the passions they have. Introverts are motivated from within, by core values, and are often not moved by things like wealth and power. That describes me to a ‘T’. When a company I liked working for announced a grand new vision for the company…and then said it was to make a certain dollar amount of profit, my heart sunk. Money is not what motivates me.
Of course this would have been useless information ten or twenty years ago, when I couldn’t identify what I was passionate about. It was always placeholder addictions such as watching motorsports on TV, participating in online forums, attempting to play musical instruments, playing video games…there always had to be something to plug that gaping hole of passion in my soul. Someone once pointed out this flaw in my personality, saying I was obsessive about things, and when I developed a passion, I went about it in an out-of-balance fashion. This is true. But I don’t think it’s a personality flaw, I think it’s the way I’m built. I am made to be passionate about something–and if I can’t find what I’m passionate about, I have do something in the meantime. I can’t just get up, go to a job I dislike, come home and just ‘veg out’. I have to be doing something that means something…or if I don’t, I have to do something that is so immersive that it takes my mind off the fact that I haven’t found the answer yet.
Now, at 37, I finally have an answer. And it only took almost 20 years to get it. I enjoy writing. A lot. If I could do anything all day long, it would be to write, read, study, and write some more. I was always a writer, from the time I was a kid, but was never happy with my writing. I couldn’t understand why. At first, I thought it was that the writing wasn’t any good. (It probably wasn’t great–you don’t start out writing New York Time bestsellers when you’re in the fifth grade–but people around me would compliment me on my writing frequently, from elementary school up to college level.) I thought I was being too much of a perfectionist. (Which I am, to a degree. I’ve learned to dial that back a little bit so I don’t get so frustrated at something that I quit.
The problem with my writing was not that it was terrible, the problem was that it didn’t have meaning to me. I didn’t have a story to tell. I would write fiction, but it would always peter out, because it didn’t seem meaningful. I’ve started more novels than I can count, even kinda-sorta did one for NaNoWriMo, but I’ve never finished one, and that’s because even though I had an idea on something that would be cool, I lost interest because it didn’t line up with my passions, my core values.
When I re-launched this web site a few weeks back, I hired a designer who gave me some good advice when designing a theme: find exactly what you are passionate about, two or three bullet points, and then distill that down to a few impactful words.
I’ve found the topics, even though I’m still working on the branding.
Jesus Christ: I want everyone to have the inward revelation of who Christ is. Not just to know a few words that comfort them until they die, but to experience the presence of God and have the inward leading of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of Christ, as a daily thing, like breathing in and breathing out.
Mental health: I have struggled with mental health issues from the time I was a pre-teen up until now, and have only this year achieved a level of freedom to where I feel like I can begin telling my story and actually helping other people. I didn’t have that freedom before.
Politics: Here’s where it gets a little uncomfortable for most Christians. Either we’re told who to vote for in order to be ‘good Evangelicals’, or we’re told not to get involved in politics at all, and I’m sorry, I cannot do that. I am constitutionally (pun intended) incapable of being dispassionate about the United States of America. I love this country through and through, forever. I don’t like everything this country does, but there’s where I am developing a few ideas of how to get myself educated and involved so we can work on getting useless Republicans out of the way and get some real men and women in there.
So there you have it, the Big Three things I am passionate about. These are things that have been floating around in my heart for decades now. I’ve gone through an inward hell and emerged from that hell over a period of about twenty years, but as I look back, I realize that I had to go through that inner hell in order to have something to say. I had to develop a rich inner life because of who I am (an introvert) and because I needed that inner life in order to stay alive in the midst of inward hell. I had to watch while good presidents made bad decisions, and bad presidents made worse decisions. I had to go through these things in order to have something to say. And now I do.
So. Don’t get discouraged if you’re young, or old, and you still don’t know what you want to do. I know I want to write, now, and what I want to write about, but I still don’t know how to monetize the thing–you can’t easily pay the bills by banging away on a keyboard ten or more hours a day. So we will see what happens.
Thanks for reading. Cheers.