[excerpt from my newest book – in final publishing stages: Driving Change dIFFERENTLY with a Serving Leader Attitude.]
The saying “practice makes perfect” is not exactly correct. Actually, it’s “perfect practice that makes ‘perfect.’”
When I think of practice, I think of the Olympics as the quintessential representation of the commitment to the thousands of hours needed for those athletes to perfect a skill. Especially in gymnastics where virtuosity counts for so much in the routines: virtuosity is that quality of execution that evokes the observation that “I’ve seen that done a hundred times, but never so effortlessly and with such great precision.” Passion fuels the engine of commitment to persist in practicing over and over again until the skill becomes part of the soul of the performer. The technical ability is woven into the fabric of the performance despite the many mistakes that produced the kind of learning needed to conquer.
The past can damage passion as illustrated. If your past looks like this to you, then, your passion will look like this and your anxiety level will be substantive.
If like great athletes, however, you are learning to use the mistakes of the past to fuel what you are doing in the present, then the perspectives change.
For Christ-followers, there is yet another picture that enhances passion. It, focuses on things that matter and provides a perspective people find attractive because the person, surrounded by a God-reality, practices passion with a peace that is beyond human comprehension.
There arises a problem, even for Christ-followers: knowing yourself and controlling yourself are a daily surrender; when that does not happen, the picture changes. The vertical relationship with God may still exist, but the horizontal relationship with others is damaged when the past is giving foothold to control your passion and cause personal anxiety. The cure? Prayer and thanksgiving: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”i
Your passion, surrounded by consciousness of your Creator, will produce in you a wholehearted devotion to not only love Him, but also love others in a way that meaningfully helps them to grow, be nurtured, and ultimately succeed in their job.
The word “God” is grayed back for a reason: a serving-leader attitude is not about wearing God on one’s sleeve in a “Bible-thumping” sort of way. You want people to see your passion, but you want it to be an expression of Christ-like qualities: you may be the only expression of God’s love that some people ever see. Let your passion be a heavenly expression of The Great Commandment.ii God is greater than your past and greater than any anxiety. We all have pasts and we all get anxious: only our utter dependence on God will yield a change in our attitude about each.
Often, our passion is a gift from God, but it may lie fallow without constant “stirring up.” The Apostle Paul had to remind Timothy to “stir up that inner fire which God gave you at your ordination. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.”iii That “inner fire,” that passion, dedicated to God, is attractive because it comes without fear; it comes in power that can transform. This passion shared should be encouraging, even in the midst of a negative environment.
Copyright 2012 by P. Griffith Lindell
i 236 in the text Philippians 4: 6 – 7 NIV
ii 237 in the text Matthew 22: 36–40 CEV. 36”Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38This is the first and most important commandment. 39The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.
iii 238 in the text 2 Timothy 1:6 JB Phillips
iv 239 in the text John 3:30 NLB