Passion: An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.
When I answer countless questions to discover my passions, playing blocks and reading Curious George rarely show up in my answers. And the tantrums and whining that come with motherhood never do. My passions lie in creative work. That's where I get excited to dive in, feeling a sense of purpose as I do so.
That passion, however, comes to a screeching halt when my kid throws an all-out lay-on-the-floor-of-Target-screaming tantrum. Reality sinks in. The energy I want to spend on creative work actually needs to be put into this child going through “a phase.” Not to mention his older sister and soon-to-arrive baby brother that also need my focus.
That's where calling comes in.
Calling: Impulse or strong urge to follow a type of work.
My uncovered passions of creative work collide against my in-this-season calling as a mom to littles. Both are good and both are rooted deep inside me.
So I continue to take on both equally—creative work and motherhood. Filling my life to overflowing with the good efforts they require. All colliding and competing for my limited time, attention and energy. And boy, is the energy fleeting these days!
I complain that it doesn't all fit. That I want to be stay-at-home mom, but I also want to spend more time in creative work. I want all of the good things. Stopping to hear my own exasperation, I realize this overwhelmed, exhausted mom needs to simplify and refocus.
Clarity of purpose to let go of some good passions and fully embrace my calling for this season came by answering a few questions. Here are those questions in case you also find yourself caught in the collision of passion and calling:
1. What season am I in?
This includes: 1) goals or projects, 2) daily tasks or responsibilities, and 3) life happenings.
Example: My goals range from writing projects to preparing for a healthy birth. My daily tasks involve household chores and online upkeep for my blogs. My life happenings include being a pregnant stay-at-home mom, my husband's job transition, and a possible upcoming move. Phew. My lists remain full while I'm getting very little done.
2. What calling is most important to me right now?
I'm recognizing that our calling is simply to follow Jesus, and we have a variety of possibilities for putting that into action throughout our lives. Sometimes we'll dive deep into the passions He grows in our lives. Other times, we have a calling to take care of a more pressing need.
Example: Seeing my online endeavors grow is seeing my passions come to fruition. However, as I accept the growth of our family in 8-ish weeks, I feel a more pressing desire to get ready. To get our home ready for a 5th occupant. To love on my family before we move deeper into survival mode. To live well here and now in this short season that we'll never get back.
3. What good things are holding me back?
Splitting energy and focus equally between lots of good things is like texting drivers. Their eyes linger on the phone or the road, but never both at the same time. That's what happens when we go from good thing to good thing. Our focus can only point one direction at a time, temporarily neglecting everything else.
Example: My creative passions become a good thing holding me back when they consume my time and energy so I have nothing, or little, left to offer my family. This changes with the season. When my kids grow in independence, I have a little more time to spend on creative pursuits. Now that we're restarting with a newborn, I want to be sure I leave room to give this new little guy the attention he will need.
4. What motivation can I bring to mind when I doubt my decision to let go?
Letting go is less about quieting a passion and more about prioritizing. It doesn't necessarily have to be a forever-goodbye or even a full letting-go. Those passions we have less time for now will likely grow into a calling for another season.
Example: When I doubt my decision, I can remember my arrows (Psalm 127:4) and this tremendously important calling I have to care for them. These blessings need me to live courageously for them. I can also remember the family rhythms and opportunities letting go opens room for in this season. My passions will still be there when I'm more able to dive in.
5. How will I overcome challenges to live simply with purpose where I am?
There are always distractions threatening to derail us. It's helpful to refresh our everyday routine with this renewed focus, set related goals, find accountability and stay inspired.
Example: My biggest challenge and distraction is when I feel overwhelmed with home and kids and would rather be doing creative work. Taking breaks to keep creative work alive will be essential. Meanwhile, my main goal is to reclaim joy in staying home. My husband and mastermind group are my accountability. And my chevron cork board inspires me to leave that space ready to focus on my little arrows.
The resulting simplified purpose for my life, work and family help me not feel so overwhelmed in this season. A renewed focus of where to invest my limited resources makes sure nothing of value falls through the cracks. Clarity in my calling doesn't completely neglect my passion. That is truly refreshing.
How do your life passions and your in-this-season calling differ? Looking at your answers to the questions above, how can you calm this collision and live simply with purpose where you are?
Read more from Trina at her personal blog Beginner Beans or her more baby-related blog Prefolds Love. The five questions shared in this post can be explored further in her free guide A Simple Road Map for Your Journey.