"_a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."

Prov. 13:12

What are you passionate about? Do you know? Has it occurred to you that your passions or desires hold the clue to finding a purposeful life? Sometimes we just write off these desires or brush them aside, not realizing they are trying to "tell" us something. In my times of talking often with a special friend, I once heard her say, "If only I had paid attention to what my heart was telling me. I now see that I have had certain passions for a long time, but I never understood them for what they were: the core foundation from which I could build my life and follow my dreams."

It took me awhile to understand my own passions. Today, as I look over my life, can trace them back to my childhood. I remember wanting friends to feel good about themselves, and I remember one friend in grade school who really didn't. I wanted her to see her potentials-- even though I might not have called it that. Now, years later, I feel God has led me to continue to follow my strongest heart passions through writing, speaking, and encouraging others to follow their heart and find the dream that God has for their lives. I am still motivated by "potentials", and the desire that we all take that journey to becoming the person God intended us to be. Such a journey is an ongoing, learning, faith building, and challenging, but rewarding and exciting, process!

Let's move on to talking about passion. Your heart's passions, placed there by God for His purposes, could be looked upon as "hallowed ground." These passions give you a glimpse of what God might have in store for you to do, and can be given back to God for His service. God's dreams reside in the very things He has already given you. You have a big dream that has been woven into your being since birth. It is like your genetic code. Your mission is "written in your members." It is there to draw you toward the life you were born to love, what you were made to do, toward a place of God's choosing.

In the film, Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God's pleasure." He also said, "To give up running would be to hold God in contempt." What is God's pleasure for you? You need to know your own unique design, to discern the DNA God gave you-- your special design of talents and motivations. Like Eric Liddell, you start to discern God's will for your life.

Arthur Miller and Ralph Mattson bring a Christian perspective to their work at People Management Inc. They have interviewed and helped thousands to lead productive lives. They stress that "people are not only wonderfully and specifically designed, but this design remains consistent through life." There will be a common thread of motivations that always appear in our most meaningful experiences/achievements.

Counselors and theologians would say look at the times or experiences when you were most yourself. You might have been surprised by joy. Only you might have been aware of the uniqueness of your experience. Use the "time flies by" test to think of such experiences. These are times when you were so absorbed in what you were doing that you were unaware of time passing. Make a list of satisfying experiences over the years and try to understand the motivations behind your actions in these experiences. You could record why you were motivated, or what motivated you. Can you discover a common motivational thread that kept appearing? (For further information on what some of those motivations could be, I would refer you to pages 29-32 in my book, Follow Your Heart and Discover God's Dream for You.)

As you become aware of your motivations, and are armed with the understanding of the purposes and passions God seems to have given you, ask God to show you what He might have for your life. Look for a vision, or seed idea, of a dream that could encompass all these special things. Henry Blackaby, author of Knowing God, has said: "Ask God to show you where you can join Him where He has a work for you to do." This is a lot different than bringing your dreams to God and asking Him to rubber stamp them.

I would suggest the November, 2003, newsletter, "What Should I Do With My Life", to read further thoughts on knowing the dream that is right for you, and the four tests used to measure that dream.

It is exciting to think about each of us going forward with the dreams that are in our heart--- whether we are students pursuing them for the first time, whether we are young homemakers, business or professional people, volunteers in local churches or communities, or whether we are pursuing new challenges and dreams in our mid-life and older years. What are the purposes we could be accomplishing? What kind of tapestry of life and service could we weave with the unique design and usage of our combined gifts? What kind of heritage could we leave?

Probably the best news is that we don't have to do any of this on our own. God's promises speak of a partnership on our dream-quest journey and our journey to live a purpose driven life. This is good, because left to our own devices we would be left with producing "man-size" efforts. Why not have "God size" efforts that enable us to go beyond our own limitations and resources. When "success" does come, it will also bring humility with it, because we will know we couldn't have accomplished such fulfillment or success on our own.

Happy dream journey,

Judy Peterson

©Copyright 2006 - Judy Peterson. All Rights Reserved.

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Through life stories, practical help, and inspirational guidance, author and speaker, Judy Peterson helps others identify a God-given dream or passion and pursue their life purpose. This is based on her experience as a businesswoman and on her book, Follow Your Heart and Discover God’s Dream For You. Please visit http://www.followyourheart.info.

Unless otherwise specified, the New International Version (NIV) is used for all biblical verses.

This publication is registered with the Library of Congress in Washington, DC - ISSN 1551-5907.