Feeling cranky, tired, discouraged or edgy? Sure, it could be hunger or hormones, but the problem could go deeper.
I was suffering from "technology overload" - and a prolonged schedule packed with new learning curves. We've been married
so long, my husband reognized the symptoms immediately. It was time to talk.
"What makes your
heart sing?" he asked gently but firmly. "I think that's the real problem."
I knew immediately
what he meant. Maybe you do, too.
We're All Unique
When I first
started writing this article, I almost changed my mind. Too common a question… nothing new I can add. But then
I realized that's really one of the very reasons for writing it - we can all offer our own special perspectives.
all have unique interests and activities. We list them in our profiles; we post them on our Facebook walls; and we talk about
them with animated expressions. They occupy the white spaces of our calendars. Even our checkbooks can reflect them. We may
enjoy a variety of things. But within each heart lies one or more passions that drives our words, thoughts, and actions more
than any other.
Do What Makes Your Heart Sing
I first heard
that phrase, "Do what makes your heart sing," years ago in a magazine story about Lady Byrd Johnson. The wife of former president
Lyndon B. Johnson, she was known for her beautification efforts - particularly in the planting of flowers throughout the nation's
countryside - though that was only a small part of her contributions. State highway tractors stopped mowing, and wildflowers
began to spread. Allergy sufferers may not appreciate her passion, but no one can deny the colorful, floral display of God's
beauty as you travel along the highways of America. The reason she persisted in that endeavor? "It was something my heart
could sing to," she once said.
I adopted that slogan years ago when I discovered one of the
things that made my own heart sing: writing, particularly in creating beauty through the power of encouraging words, and pointing
others toward intimacy with God (though I love flowers, too!). At first my efforts were only for God's ears and mine, but
as I began to scatter seeds, they spread-like wildflowers - as I shared colorful words with others. When I moved too far away
from that passion, I experienced a persistent restlessness.
What About You?
makes your heart sing? I know a couple whose simple song and goal is to help someone every day - in a practical way. Their
"music" travels great distances. Some love to build fine homes; others live to better those in hovels. A massage therapist
I just met shared her passion of helping relieve others' pain, even though as a sufferer of fibromyalgia, she is exhausted
the day after giving a massage. All of these people offer their God-given gifts to others and make a difference in their own
Whether it's touting the advantages of an iPod or iPad, training business employees, or
teaching children life skills, you love what you do. And I'm not talking here just about making money with your passion. Not
everyone can do that. But you can use your passion to make a difference in your world. I love what Katharine Graham once said:
"To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?"
But not everything
in life is… fun, even if you do know what makes your heart sing. You may be suffering from something far more serious
than "technology overload." Sometimes economic downturns, painful losses, or debilitating circumstances can threaten to silence
the music of your heart. But it doesn't have to. The apostle Paul's enemies tried to eradicate the passionate "music" of Paul's
life: "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21). They chained him and threw him in a smelly dungeon.
But guess what? Paul's song grew louder. And as he sang praises, literally, to His God, the chains fell off; God both spared
and changed the jailer's life; and Paul's passion - and song - grew even stronger (Acts 16:22-34).
Do You Find the Song?
How do you tune in to the music that makes your heart sing? And how do
you find it in the first place? Here are a few suggestions:
•Pull away and get alone
with God. Ask Him to define your passion and your purpose, and to write His signature on it. Then listen, really listen. Someone
has wisely said we can't hear God speak if we're always doing the talking.
•Watch where God is working
and has worked in your life. God often uses your weaknesses as well as your strengths to birth a special ministry or passion
He wants you to pursue.
•Remember we all go through seasons in our lives. God will use each season if
you allow Him to, and make something beautiful of each one. When He closes a door, He may not plan to open a window. He may
be protecting you from something that would ultimately bring only harm and disappointment to your life.
can discover your purpose and passion even in mundane situations. Be open to new things, but recognize that sometimes it truly
is the little things that count in our lives.
•Stop listening to everyone else's voices. While we are
to live and work with excellence, no one can "do it all." How - and why - you use your God-given gifts or passions will differ
from others. And what works for some won't work for you.
In our effort to follow other sheep, we can temporarily
"misplace" our song and lose our direction. Following sheep can lead to confusion. Following the Shepherd leads to peace and
contentment. What makes even a sheep's heart sing? The Shepherd's melodious voice. Are you listening for it?
You Still Hear the Music?
Are you a mom? A dad? A single? A senior? What makes your heart sing?
Can you still hear the music? If you'd like to read further on defining your purpose and your passion-and doing what makes
your heart sing-you might enjoy this piece I wrote a few years ago called "The Passion of Purpose." Sometimes we find our
passion - and our purpose - in the simplest and most unlikely places. What about you? What do you think?
sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they folow me" (John 10:27, NIV).