HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.
You are going to do great things in your life. I am so passionate about Christians finding an identity rooted in God’s love, because I know that’s ultimately the only way they will fulfil their destiny. Confusion about identity is the main reason why Christians give up on the great callings God places on them. They compare themselves to the accomplishments of others. They think they haven’t earned an education or don’t have any business experience. As a minister, I had to learn very quickly that if I wanted to succeed in ministry I couldn’t compare myself to other ministers or their churches or their budgets. I had to just be me, and that would be the most successful version of me.
When our identity is rooted in being the beloved, we can do whatever we want without feeling pressure from society. We are free to pursue a big vision despite our critics. We become people in love with the possibility and don’t worry as much about failure, because failure has nothing to do with belonging. When we are focused on being God’s beloved, we simply desire to do what God wants. If He calls us to do nothing for a season, that’s okay.
This freedom evaporates when we think we are not worthy of love and belonging and need to prove ourselves. If we remain constantly rooted in the idea that we are what we do, we will simply do too much and will burn out. In other words, we get emotional energy when we stop worrying about being amazing, perfect, impressive, or relevant and just decide to do the awesome thing God wants from us. When this happens, we are able to focus our energy on that one thing rather than a bunch of things at the same time. We go from victory to victory and get encouraged along the way. We don’t allow setbacks to destroy us and instead gain a new resilience.
If the first component to having a vibrant energetic life is identity, the second is passion — that is, having a big dream or desire and really going for it with all your heart. I’m interjecting it here because my concern about letting go of what you do as part of your identity can feel like I’m saying, “Just give up.” I’m not. The only thing I want you to give up is being overwhelmed, cluttered, exhausted with proving yourself to others, and people-pleasing. Boundaries, self-respect, and loads of spiritual energy are required for you to do the great things God has called you to. In fact, in a Christian worldview, desire is at the heart of your faith.
Many Christians lack passion. They experience setbacks that cause them to give up on their dreams. After too many failures they think they are a failure and find themselves struggling with depression. Or, at best, the nagging feeling that they settled. This, too, is rooted in shame and the idea that “I am what I do.” If you are in that place, it might be that your self-talk is, “I am a failure.” Perhaps it’s time you let go of that and with abandon just start dreaming again. Having a big dream or desire, living every day with passion and zeal is central to the Christian walk.
As children, we dreamed all the time. We had big ideas and goals, and we didn’t allow anyone to sway us. One week we wanted to be an accountant, the next we wanted to be a carpenter. We didn’t care what the pay was. As children, we were full of energy, life, and passion because we hadn’t lost a sense of wonder. As children, we saw the world as a boundless canvas of opportunity and did not limit our thinking.
We start life so full of energy, but after enough loneliness, rejection, and suffering, we take a more realistic view of the world. This is where our spirituality finds itself in mortal danger because in a Christian worldview our desire is our spirituality. After all, Jesus said, Unless you… become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. — Matthew 18:3
Perhaps you thought Christianity was all about being morose and boring and following a bunch of rules and rites. Perhaps you thought being a spiritual person meant getting rid of passion altogether. Not so. Your soul is made to desire.
Every human being is made in the image of God and brings a bit of His power into this world. Being born is a crazy affair. We enter the world with no rules or boundaries, naked and covered in blood, screaming. No baby comes into the hospital room saying, “Father, Mother, so nice to meet you. When you get a second, I desire something.” In fact, a newborn baby expresses the raw spirit, fire, and passion. Whether aflame or barely flickering, that same passion remains in our hearts, and it is this passion that has fueled some of the greatest good and evil in the world.
Perhaps to be born again means to regain some of this fire we had as children. Perhaps we are meant to clean off the many barnacles of societal taboos and pressures placed on us by the world. Christianity teaches us to focus our passion on what is good. It certainly doesn’t teach us to get rid of it. The greatest women and men who have made a difference in history have been passionate people. Simply look to leaders such as William Branham, Dr. Martin Luther King, or Billy Graham to see very clearly those who dream and live with passion. The big difference is their passion doesn’t result in destructive behaviour. Rather, it’s totally devoted to God’s call.
I’m startled by how many Christians will criticize another believer as being too emotional as if being emotional were ungodly or somehow a bad thing. Yes, emotions can cloud our reason and cause us to be unwise at times. That’s certainly not prudent. But you also can’t be like Jesus without being at least a little emotional.
- When Jesus preached against religious hypocrisy,
- He was emotional. When He saw His friend Lazarus dead in a tomb,
- He was emotional. When He turned over the moneychangers’ tables,
- when He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane,
- when He gave His life on the Cross for His friends, He was emotional.
Isn’t the crucifixion called The Passion?
Being emotional and passionate is a good thing; it’s the very definition of being spiritual.
But it’s only good to the point that those emotions and passions are mastered. Mastered doesn’t mean “turned down.” It means your emotions are focused and trained, like a laser.
- You are passionate about helping others.
- You are passionate about your prayer.
- You are passionate about your love for your children or your friends.
Your emotion is an inner fire directed toward fighting what you are afraid of, toward generosity, and toward spiritual growth.
We’re always struggling with both the desire to fit in and the desire to be unique. We want to be an example, and yet we don’t want to be uncomfortable. We want to do something crazy, but we don’t want to be socially awkward. We all feel this way, but following Jesus means you need at least a small touch of crazy.
You are not what you do, so why are you worried about failing? You are not what you do, so do something great!