Identifing Your Passions

passions (photo by Jennifer Pinkerton)Passions. The very word elicits strong emotion — excitement, hesitation, or maybe even confusion. Where do passions come from? How do you find them or use them?  And most importantly, do you have one? The exciting part of discovering your passions is that you grow into them and with them!

A passion can be what gets you up in the morning, or makes you feel alive. It’s the one area of your life that you feel like you were created for the very purpose of doing. It’s also where you feel the Lord’s pleasure or presence the most. Made in His image, the Lord gives us passions as a way to give us part of Himself.

You begin to identify your passions by asking yourself hard questions, and wrestling through the answers.

  • What breaks your heart, and baffles your mind?
  • What is one thing in life that you can’t stand?
  • Why did you get up this morning?
  • What makes you weep with joy or sorrow?
  • In what area did the Lord give you talents?
  • The questions go on, but the number one import thing is to ask the Lord to reveal to you what your passions are, or how to use the ones you do have for His glory!

Passions go past the “what” to the “why”. Passion is always the center and driving force behind an action or statement. In “I’m passionate about being a mom”, Mom is the “what”. The real question is, “Why do you like being a Mom?” Stemming from the heart of God, passions stem from the heart of the matter. What is the “why” of your “what”?

The root of our passions come from either joy or pain in our lives.

black and white passions (photo by Jennifer Pinkerton)

Passions from pain. We get our modern word “passion” from the Latin root, passio: to suffer (Webster’s 1828). Suffering and pain are often the means the Lord uses to make us passionate about changing something and making a difference for the Kingdom. For it is in the refining fire of suffering that the Lord molds us and creates a holy discontent in us that drives us to make a difference. Some of our greatest passions come from our biggest wounds. The Lord uses developing passions as part of the healing process! Heart passions are usually expressed through causes or spiritual gifts – teaching, admonishing, encouraging, hospitality. The greatest encouragers are the ones who have been there before.

My passion for identity came from being wounded deeply by people in my life who didn’t know who they were in the Lord. It was through that pain that the Lord gave me a love and compassion for people trapped in their past. He redeems pain by using it as a tool to help others.

Passion from joy. It’s moments of joy and beauty that often inspire passion too! A healthy marriage fosters the desire to see others experience the same. Creative arts passions (more of the physical passions) stem from joy and beauty. Painting, writing, creating, cooking, singing, worshiping – these are joy passions. Joy passions are at times found in or expressed through the fruits of the Spirit: love, peace, kindness, faithfulness. Joy passions are often done in worship to the King. You paint because the beauty of His creation inspired you. You sew because you wish to bless your family and honor Him through it. You create because you are created in the image of your Creator.

While passions can be categorized into heart passions and physical passions, most passions end up being both. The closer one gets to the Lord, the more pain and joy they will find in those passions — and the less distinct the line between joy and pain becomes. Sometimes something is so beautiful it hurts, and at other times we see beauty in pain as the Lord moves in situations.

Cultivating passions is a life long journey, but the first step is to recognize where they come from. Passions stem from the very heart and depth of God. Part of nurturing and cultivating your passions is going to come from discovering who God made you to be. Personality, spiritual gift, and strength finder tests are great tools to help see what God is already building into your life. Even if you already know what you are passionate about, there is always more to learn and discover. Don’t be afraid to try new things and expose yourself to different situations to see what the Lord will quicken your heart towards.

The second step in cultivating and identifying your passions is to not be afraid of them. Yes, passions elicit strong feelings, but we aren’t to be afraid of them — we must instead manage and harness them. God gives us the feelings to motivate us. Danger comes when we begin to worship the passion or let the feelings control and run us, rather than seeing them as a tool we use to worship the Lord.

In order to manage your passion in different seasons of life, you either mold your lifestyle around your passions or your passions around your lifestyle. Neither one nor the other is better, but knowing what season you’re in is critical! I’m in a season where I can create my lifestyle around my passion for full-time ministry; my close girlfriend cannot. She is a loving mother of three and in this season she creates her passions around her lifestyle and season. (I can stop and write at any point in my day, while my girlfriend waits until the children are in bed.) As you begin to search for or develop your passion, keep in mind what season you’re in or frustration will abound!

The purpose of our passions is to honor the One who created them in us, but we can’t worship Him with what we don’t know we have. I firmly believe everyone has a passion. Sometimes we just have to search a little bit for them. So I challenge you, do you know what your passion is? What steps do you need to take to either identify your passions or cultivate the ones you already know you have?

Created in His image, there is no room for us not to spend time seeking Him for, and honoring Him through, our passions. Go past the “what” in your life to the “why”!

using passions (photo by Jennifer Pinkerton)


  1. I love the simplicity and the practicality of this post. God bless you a bunch!

  2. Thank you and the Lord who has blessed you with the gift of writing. Through him you are able to translate his Word to us to help us understand. I know, like me, there are many people who need guidance. God bless you. 🙂

  3. I really appreciate your thoughts – they’re so clear, but so true and very helpful!

  4. I love this post. It is simple, and yet so powerfully helpful. Thank you for taking the time to put this into words. 🙂

  5. This is a beautiful post. It’s exactly what I needed right now!

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