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Passion and Purpose

Modern Toilet - Passion vs PurposeSociety talks a lot about finding your passion.  What makes you tick.  What you love to do.

Minimalism talks a lot about it too – creating space for your passion.  I have talked about it.  I even have a necklace, from a dear friend, that says ‘find your passion’. There is an energy in these words.

They are exciting, motivating, and catchy. As a culture we know we get bogged down and busy with things that are extra.  Finding the thing that makes you feel alive, finding your passion, makes a huge difference to our lives both in our heads and in our actions.

But I have always had a nagging dislike for this word.   I love it, but it doesn’t seem to include the full picture.  

Making Space

I believe strongly that we need to clear out the clutter and the junk in our lives so we can have time to live.  We need to quit trying to look successful in everyone else’s eyes and play everyone else’s games in life.  Instead, we need to find and follow our own life.

We have one life, and if we spend it trying to live someone else’s, we have wasted it.

I believe clearing out this clutter of stuff, busyness, societies approval, and always living in the future is so important.  I believe we make room for our passion.

But it just doesn’t seem like this is enough.

Finding a passion seems very inward focused.  I am finding my passion, what I love to do, what I do well, what I was meant to do.  But why?

The word passion doesn’t mean it has to be only inward focused, and when people talk about this word they are not just talking about making themselves happy.  But the word passion doesn’t seem to clearly convey a meaning beyond self.

If I am pursuing something that is my passion and things become hard, or I get tired, or life gets in the way, it is easier to give up on and put on hold.  It is something that is mine and primarily affecting me.

Purpose

But the word purpose is different.  Google defines purpose as:

The reason why something exists.

Purpose, at least in my mind, seems outward focused.  But it also doesn’t leave the self focused side out.  It seems to take the definition the step farther to really make it a worthy goal.

… this really isn’t any great wisdom.  People use the word purpose, and finding your purpose all the time.  I love the book ‘The Purpose Driven Life’.  So nothing new or earth shattering about this realization.  But I have been figuring it out with my own thinking and my own life.

Often purpose is used as a religious word and I believe God put each of us where we are for a reason.  But this word doesn’t have to be religious.  I believe we all have a desire to make a difference in the world – to leave it better than we found it.

Passion vs Purpose

I have lots of passions in life.  There are so many things I love to do and would love to try.  Things I love working on, growing with, and even offering to the world.  But there is never space for all of them.  I need purpose to clarify the why behind doing these passions.

A few months ago I was thinking through a my writing and several of the things I considered ‘my passions’ and I realized that through all these passions I was trying to encourage people.  My passions might be writing, talking, and teaching, but the reason behind all these is that I really want to encourage people.

I want to encourage my kids to grow up believing in themselves and what they are able to do.  I want to encourage people reading my blog to break free from all the clutter in their own life and discover their own.  I want to encourage homeschool families to focus on the true things that matter with raising a child and not get frustrated over the details of schooling.

Realizing this underlying purpose, this piece from all the different things I am working on that is the most exciting and the most rewarding, was exciting.  I am not just writing to get better at it or to get published.  I am not just keeping my blog up to practice writing and try to grow my number of followers.  I am not staying up at night working on these things to try and make a bit of money to help fund our travels.

None of these things are worth pushing through when things get hard, schedules change, or my site gets hacked.  But encouraging people makes it all worth it.  I love writing but what I really love is hearing from people who have taken my writings and it has helped them.  Where one is a fun past time the other makes my day.

What about you?

What are your passions?  Have you discovered your purpose?  It think both passions and purpose can mold and change during different times in our life, but what are you doing now?  How is it affecting those around you?

Thanks so much for reading! 

Photo: Yesterday we went to ‘The Modern Toilet‘ restaurant.  I remember reading about it years ago but quickly putting it out of my mind because I figured I would never end up wandering around in Taipei.  haha, well we ended up here so I figured we should take the kids and make a memory.  It is a restaurant with a potty theme.  You sit on potty’s to eat.  All your dishes are potty’s.  It is potty humor at it’s finest.  I ate soup out of a miniature western toilet and had ice cream out of an Asian toilet.  Definitely paying for the experience and not the quality of food, but pretty fun for the kids 🙂

15 Comments

  1. Hello Lorilee, What a great post! You have explained the difference between passion and purpose in a way that makes sense to me. What’s wonderful about the two of these together is that we can use our passion to fulfill our purpose. As you said, your writing is one of your passions; its purpose is to encourage people.
    I also enjoy writing, and as with you, the real joy for me is when a reader responds to anything I write. Another example … I love to cook, so it’s a passion. So when someone is ill or needs cheering up, I show my love and concern by cooking a meal for them. It seems that God has given us these talents and passions so that we can use them to help others.

  2. As I looked to clear my life of the physical and mental clutter of life, I learned that it was easier to accomplish that when I defined my purpose. Fulling a purpose in life is more rewarding than building an empire of things. Thanks for thinking through the process in your post.

  3. Nancy Nancy

    Very interesting thoughts Lorilee. I think I identify a lot more with purpose than I do with passion. I am challenged by the thought that it would make a big difference if we would be passionate about living out our purpose in life. Have fun exploring Taipei.

  4. Great post! We should focus more on our passions that align to our life purpose through prioritizing. I adhere to this principle very much. Thank you for sharing these words!

  5. Oh what an encouraging and timely post for me this week! I have been struggling with the role I am in now as a stay at home mom with two small children and one on the way, I just don’t feel very passionate about it lately. I miss the days when I could “pursue my passions.” You are right, though, that it is much more fulfilling and rewarding to focus on my purpose – to raise these children to find their own purpose some day. I’ve learned so much about how minimalism is the first step to pursuing both passion and purpose. Thanks for your words! P.S. – I so wanted to visit the toilet restaurant in Hong Kong when we were there. It may be one of my big regrets in life. 🙂

    • Sarah, don’t let it be one of your big regrets. It was just as fun as the pictures and the idea… but not much more fun after that. The place ended up smaller, the food wasn’t that special, and touching the dishes was just as fun as seeing the idea in pictures 🙂 The kids will remember it, and I’m glad we went, but it wasn’t that as great as I expected.

  6. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    Great thoughts, Lorilee. You hit on some good points in this post involving living your own life (true to who *you* are) and finding the real underlying reasons that fuel your passion.

    And it’s interesting…if you don’t have the courage to push outside your comfort zone and you don’t have the space to explore yourself and the world, you can’t find your real passions (passions that give you courage). Which means you can’t gain the courage you need to live outside society’s expectations! It’s a never ending rat race if you don’t take the time to stop and think about what kind of life you’re living.

  7. Very thought-provoking post! Really makes one think about how they live their life. Good food for thought.

  8. Great post Lorilee 🙂 I have found my passion to be in music and my purpose is to teach it to others who want to develop their passion as well.

    I too want to encourage those who are seeking a simple life and in this I believe we can have multiple passions and multiple purposes without diminishing any one of them.

    Thanks again for you insights and I truly appreciate all that you have gone through to get your voice heard and the word out 🙂

    Take care and all the best.

    Lyle

  9. I love this post! You have certainly been an encouragement to me in my journey of living simply. Your writing is always a breath of fresh air.

  10. Karen Karen

    I have been doing a lot of decluttering emotional and physical stuff .Paying off debt and not spending more than I make has really helped.I have homeschooled 5 kids and I am on my last one number 6.We are getting ready to move from Alabama to Missouri and I am downsizing the house so I will be doing more decluttering .You have helped me so much to finding my passion as I become an empty nester.I do not remember being without others to take care of and now its time to take care of me.Thank you so much.Karen

  11. Passion seems to be the latest buzzword and its becoming over-used. I have been looking for a part-time job and its disconcerting how often the ads say “Must be passionate about selling x”. Really, must I be passionate about stationery to work in an office supplies store? This demand that people claim to be passionate about everything they do seems shallow and inauthentic. I like office supplies in moderation, but that’s about it! I can still do a job well without being passionate about it if it fits with a wider purpose.

  12. […] Follow your passions,and try to map your passions to purpose.As Lorilee Lipincott writes:“ I need purpose to clarify the why behind doing these passions.” Read Lorilee’s full post here: Passion and Purpose. […]

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