One of my prayers is that my passion and enthusiasm intensify as time passes. I think often the opposite happens to people. The older the get, the less passionate and enthusiastic they become. Tonight, I was in a room with 1400 teens at Big Stuf. Listening to them worship with Steve Fee and hear Jared Herd speak inspired me, deeply. It reminded me how easy it is to be passionate and enthusiastic when you’re young.
Passion and enthusiasm are interesting words, though. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse exuberance with passion or enthusiasm.
I got thinking about passion and enthusiasm in a way that made me smile tonight. The word "passion" comes from a root word meaning "suffering" (as in the passion of Christ). And "enthusiasm" actually means "filled with God". Exuberance…well, it means to be lighthearted and cheery.
I think a lot of us get weighed down in our journey with Jesus because initial exuberance gets erased by the reality of life…even by suffering. Funny, then, that two of the words that describe the qualities many of us aspire to have (passion and enthusiasm) spring from both suffering and the presence of God, not mood or circumstances.
What life issues have dampened your passion, or when did you feel less than enthusiastic? Maybe the challenge for all of us is to take our brokenness and discouragement to God and ask him to fill it. Somehow, passion that springs from suffering carries more compassion and resonance than passion that does not, and enthusiasm simply means to have the presence of God fill you. I saw that in Jared tonight, and I imagined what it might be like to have 1400 kids step into the future fully alive in the reality of God’s presence even in suffering.
Here’s to a passionate, enthusiastic next generation.