I have a drastic proposal for you: Give up the hunt for The Big Intention.
I’m not suggesting that you stop caring about how 2018 may turn out. But widening your vision may make all the difference.
I learned this lesson many years ago when I sang in several church groups. A friend from Chancel Choir happened to catch me one morning after Modern Worship. I laughed, “Oh – you caught me doing my other thing!” He quietly smiled and said, “Yeah. But this is really your first thing.”
I had never thought of it that way, but he was right. That’s why it’s a good example for the January series, My Soul Says Yes. If I had limited myself to a single genre, I would have missed incredible music. Classics like Handel’s Messiah or a Bach cantata presented a completely different kind of musical challenge. And singing only one kind of music would have meant that I wouldn’t have known the irreplaceable camaraderie that existed in the choir community. Our conversation taught me an important lesson: Pop music was my first thing, but I was glad it didn’t have to be my only thing.
Illustrator Mari Andrew described a similar squeeze to find her passion. On Instagram, she told how the pressure to find a single passion was making her miserable. That was, until she decided to change her mind. And guess what she learned? The most beautiful part of her life was who she was, not what she accomplished every day. She wrote:
“Drawing is not my passion. I started drawing consistently at age 28 because it was a soothing and nice thing to do, but it’s not a PASSION. Even if it were, I couldn’t do it for two months this year because my hands were paralyzed. For that reason, I’m so glad it wasn’t my be-all end-all and the foundation of my identity. I’m glad it’s not the one thing that makes me spring out of bed in the morning.
I always felt a lot of pressure to find MY THING throughout my 20s. I’m 30 now and still haven’t found it. So if you’re feeling pressure: I’ve learned that a passionate life doesn’t mean finding ONE THING that is the center of your life. YOU are the center of your life, and all your interests and curiosities can float around you like good company and consistent friends.”
This week, emulate Mari Andrew and make a New Year’s resolution to let go of all the stress to perfect a single passion. Don’t let your social media feed make you feel pressured. The more you relax, the easier it will be to put the pieces in place.
It’s only January, so dream big! Your intentions can be broad, vivid and ever-expanding, with as many interests and passions as you’d like. (And by the way, you’re not a failure just because you’re not making money doing them.)
Don’t limit yourself to one thing. Find your first thing.