13 Jul Chase that Spark: Discovering Your Passions
I once read that you don’t need to look for your passions; they are already right in front of you.
A remarkable feat, I know, but it’s true. The thing that you would do or talk about for hours? The thing that people keep asking you for advice on? The thing that you love that no one else understands? My friend, that’s it.
That’s your spark.
I read this idea from a book many years ago, and it stuck with me, but I never understood what it meant. I can’t tell you how long I have searched to understand myself, let alone my passions. However, I have two stories that helped me realize who I am and the gifts the Lord graciously blessed me with.
The Children’s Book
First, there was a children’s book that I read back in middle or high school. The story was centred around a girl (let’s call her Sally) in a “gifted” class, but she felt like she didn’t belong there. She constantly wrote about her worries in her notebook (which was the novel).
The entire two-thirds of the book was about how Sally felt like she did not belong. I resonated so deeply with her throughout the story. Her worries about being out of place struck my own heart during the periods when I felt like I had nothing to offer, too. Finally, Sally told her friend why she was upset. Her friend was puzzled. She looked at Sally and said she was placed in the “gifted” class because she always had a pen and a journal in hand. She was there because she was a talented writer.
Encouraging Words from a Trusted Priest
Last summer, I attended a young adult event where we discussed the significance of the Catholic faith in our lives. I was placed in a discussion group with a few ladies and a priest friend. We talked about our struggles in being Catholic and how difficult it is in this world today. Then, I opened up about my fear of being a complete hypocrite.
I worked for an evangelization movement then and felt I wasn’t doing anything to support that mission. I wasn’t active in my parish or serving in any ministry like I once did in my youth. I am a full-time student who worked part-time. I was caught between two worlds, and I didn’t know how I could do or give anything meaningful. I was so discouraged at my current season. Then, Father R looked at me gently and said, “Emi, you write. That’s how you can reach people”.
I was stunned. Something clicked inside me.
I remember piecing all these moments together like two pieces in a puzzle I’ve been trying to solve for years. Like that girl in the book I read many years ago, my answer was right there. No sane person would spend hours perfecting the “perfect story arc” or who would spend the whole day trying to articulate the best metaphor. But I would. I would because I am a writer, and it is the gift I was given.
What surprised me the most about this revelation was the common thread these two stories shared: those close to them gently pointed out their gifts. Everyone else but you can see your gift so clearly.
This frustrated me so much. Why was it so easy for others to see my gifts, but I couldn’t pinpoint my talents for years? Why was I so blind to my creativity, but it was clear as day for them?
Then, I remembered butterflies.
Butterflies and the Beauty Within
Butterflies are such beautiful creatures. Their wings are so intricate, colourful, and uniquely their own. However, the most tragic thing about butterflies is that they cannot see their beauty, but everyone else can.
We are just like those butterflies. We are so uniquely and wonderfully made by God. Each has its own specific gift, talent and mission entrusted to us. But just like the butterflies, we may be too busy seeing the beauty that others possess, not realizing the magnificence we behold.
Maybe this is why God never meant for us to be alone. We are made for community. I would have never realized my own gifts if not for those close to me who gave me a gentle nudge. The support, love, and care of others help lead us back to and remind us of who we are.
My friend, if you feel like you are in a total rut and lost in discovering who you are and what you are good at, you are not alone. The gift that you have been yearning and searching for is right there. You will find it one day.
It may take a while but know that this journey of discovering your passions is so worthwhile. And if you are stubborn like me, surround yourself with good friends. They will be the ones who will lead you in the right direction.