The real meaning of passion

I always struggled with the question “What are you passionate about?”

Passion is almost always defined as that one thing you will do even if you will not be paid. Passion is the thing that you do that doesn’t feel like work. Your passion, combined with your purpose, is your “one thing,” your contribution, the gift that only you could give to the world.

In the last decade, I tried pursuing my passion in the hope of finding the work that I was meant to do. But, I struggled in doing so. While I would always start doing something new excited and full of wonder because of the novelty of it, there would always come a time when it becomes tedious, boring, and repetitive. There would also be problems and challenges that arise eventually. And the things I pursue would feel like work.

It was only a few years ago that I learned that passion came from the Latin word pati which means “to suffer.” And it was only a few weeks ago when I read it again.

When someone asks you what you are passionate about, the real question is: What are you willing to suffer for?

Your passion is not the thing that you do without ever getting tired. It’s not the thing that you do that never feels like work. It’s not the thing that you are comfortable doing or that will give you comfort. It’s not about the absence of suffering.

It’s the thing that you do that you are willing to suffer for.

And your passion doesn’t just answer the question of what, but why. Why are you willing to suffer for what you are doing?

Defined this way, passion just makes more sense. And passion becomes more meaningful.

How about you? What’s your passion?

Let’s pause and pray:

Lord, this world is full of suffering. Many times, we run away from it. We mistake passion with pleasure and comfort when it truly means to suffer for something greater than ourselves. May we not run away from suffering. And in doing so, may we find our passion, our calling, our contribution. And as we carry our crosses, may we help others carry theirs as well. Even You went through Your own passion with suffering for our salvation.

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I write and draw about faith, work, and personal development. Re-posting my work from — a journal of things I learn and a space to pause and pray.

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