Every so often I devote a great deal of time trying to discover my passion. I’ve bought books. I do online tests. I pay attention to the genres I love to read. I pay attention to how and where I spend my money. I pray about it. I ask other people for their opinions. And when I’ve amassed all of the necessary information and input, I’d then convince myself that I don’t truly know what I’m passionate about because the results of my inquiry are too disparate and diverse to be valid.
Over time, my many passions have become quite apparent and I realized that they were staring me right in the face all along. And, over time, I’ve also slowly and begrudgingly come to the glaringly obvious conclusion that I’ve secretly known all along but was afraid to admit: I’m passionate about Jesus. I’m passionate about other stuff, of course, but one of my greatest passions is writing, and writing about Jesus. But boy, what a passion to have.
This is no surprise to anyone reading this blog. I hear you all saying a collective “Duh. That wasn’t hard. Took you long enough.” Anybody who even remotely knows me knows this. I was just in denial. As soon as you hear the name “Simone Samuels,” among the thoughts you probably think are thoughts like “what a nice Christian girl. She seems to really love God. She seems to really believe in all this Jesus stuff.”
The issue is that I didn’t want that to be my passion. Of all of the passions to have, I got this one. I wanted a different one.
I wanted to be passionate about anything other than Jesus. Civil litigation. Skiing. Math. Hair braiding. Something popular. Something sexy. Something cool.
Jesus isn’t popular. Jesus isn’t sexy. Jesus isn’t cool.
I didn’t want to be painted with the same broad brush stroke as other people who are passionate about Jesus: pious, prudish, not fun, boring, judgmental, unintelligent, close-minded, not progressive, different, weird, crazy, fanatic, head in the clouds.
We don’t say that about surfers like Brittany Hamilton, or cello players like YoYo Ma. But we do say that about Jesus people.
Passion about Jesus sets you apart from the rest of the world…it’s not fun being set apart.
And I know passion about Jesus leads into trouble. Passion about Jesus is dangerous. Passionate-about-Jesus-people get fired. Passionate-about-Jesus-people get killed. Passionate-about-math people get employed. Passionate-about-math people get rich.
Talk about golf at the water cooler and you make a new friend. Talk about Jesus and you can get written up.
It goes without saying, Jesus really isn’t “in” right now.
I also didn’t want to be passionate about Jesus because, truth is, at the present time, I don’t even like Him all that much. I didn’t want to write about someone who, currently, I’m not sure is all that He is cracked up to be. I felt somewhat of an imposter – extolling the endless virtues of Jesus on paper or screen while privately I am struggling with those very same virtues, defending Jesus in public places while I disparage Him in private prayer. It makes no sense to me — I like writing about someone I don’t even like (at least for the time being. I’ll probably end up liking Him again sometime in the near future. Hopefully. Just not now.).
I don’t wanna be passionate about Jesus. Who wants to be passionate about Jesus?
How come I can’t be passionate about cleaning my apartment or wiping down the inside of my oven? How come I can’t be passionate about running? Why did I get this passion in particular?
I wanted to be passionate about civil procedure. I wanted to be passionate about mergers and acquisitions. I wanted to be passionate about capital markets and corporate transactions. I’m trying to be a lawyer. How does passion about Jesus fit in?
Can I be passionate about the Universe, because that seems to be “in” right now…
A couple of years ago, in between sets, my former personal trainer and I were talking about hobbies and passion. I had trouble figuring out mine. He asked me, “Well, what makes you wanna get up and go in the morning?” I stared at him blankly and blinked. We brainstormed briefly, but that question hit me like a ton of bricks. I was living a passionless life and did not even know it.
The other day, I bounced out of bed, eager to start typing because of another blog post idea I had that was inevitably tied to God (of course). The ideas were just bubbling over. I didn’t want this moment of inspiration to escape me. It was then that I finally understood the answer to my trainer’s question.
Writing about Jesus makes me want to get up and go in the morning. And I owe it to myself, to God (ironically) and to the world (really) to follow my passion no matter how “unpopular,” “unsexy” or “uncool” that makes me.