Posted tagged ‘passion’

Purpose Above Circumstance

May 26, 2016

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

                Setting aside such logistics as finances, practicality, and suitability, what is that one vehicle that you would be driving today?  I was driving behind a car that might fit your dream, or mine.  It was one of those higher-end automobiles whose sticker price would cause many of us to wince.  What would a car like that do to your insurance premium?  Nevertheless, it was a very nice ride. 

                So I had to chuckle at the bumper sticker it displayed – yes, I thought the same thing: “Who in their right mind would place a bumper sticker on a 6o thousand dollar vehicle!  The message was simple:  “I’d rather be driving a Titleist.”  For those of you who may not know, Titleist is a brand of golf ball.  So apparently, he drives a dream car, and golf drives him.

                If people are passionate enough about a thing to warrant branding their vehicles with bumper stickers, we can learn a lot about them!  “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.”  What about those proud parents: “My child is an honor student at …” I saw one that read, “If you can read this, thank a teacher;” and a similar one in a small print, “If you can read this, you’re driving too close.”

                What is it that drives you when your feet hit the floor each morning?  We awaken with certain obligations which call for our attention, but what is your true passion?  There may be three or four passions in your life, but likely not more than that.  True passions tend to consume us; they are the matters of life around which everything else exists.

                Recently in the news was an elementary school teacher.  Most teachers I know love their job, and many see it as more of a calling than a career; and they love their students.  Hearing of her high school daughter’s tragic accident less than a mile away, she immediately left her class and was at her daughter’s side in only a couple of minutes.  Even our passions are set by priority.

                What do we do, then, when circumstances bring significant challenges in to the mix of life?  How do we cope with discouragement, with setbacks, and with what the world might call failures? What is our response when it all seems out of whack?  Does your frustration ever push you to the edge?

                A passion is usually some matter in life for which we are willing to sacrifice, to bleed, possibly even to die; it drives us, motivates us.  Our passion provides for us a point of reference when we become uncertain about who we are or what we are supposed to do.  A bumper sticker for it might read, “Purpose above circumstance.”  Our lives should be driven by purpose, and not by circumstances.

                Looking at it from the perspective of Christian faith, Lloyd John Ogilvie writes, “When we are filled with the depression we often feel resulting from our own judgments on ourselves and others, He comes and shows us that He has a task for us which is part of His strategy for changing the world.” 

                Too often we allow circumstances to distort our perspective which alters our thoughts and emotions.  It is true that there will always be challenges in life that upset our plans and practices.  Rather than living ‘under the circumstances,’ I choose to live within my purpose.  Therein is found the will to persevere, the courage to keep moving forward, and a peace of heart and mind, knowing that I have stayed the course of my life’s passion.  


Big Break or Breakthrough

March 25, 2014

by Steven J. Callis

Reality television has certainly changed over the years, especially since its prominence significantly rose in the 1990’s. We’ve gone from Candid Camera, The Dating Game, and This Old House to Wife Swap, Real Housewives, and Pawn Stars. With this explosion of popularity, the meaning of “reality” has become a bit obscure, and often is a misnomer for shows that are classified as such.

Big Break is a reality show that appeals to golfers, and one that does not appear to be scripted or fake. Non-professional golfers compete for cash, prizes, and the opportunity to play in a PGA or LPGA tour event. Rather than competing in traditional golf matches, contestants are placed in various skills situations playing for immunity from elimination. At the end of each episode, one golfer is eliminated and sent home based on their performance that day.

On a recent episode, 18- year old country girl Dallas Odom, the youngest in Big Break history, was eliminated, and her exit interview was somewhat atypical of most who are determined to continue working and practicing and pursuing their dream of becoming a professional golfer. While she enjoys the game and is confident that she can play with the pros, she’s not certain that it is her dream.

She heard the other girls talking about life on the road and being away from home the majority of the year, and Dallas was raised in a close family atmosphere. “I wasn’t raised like that and I just kinda want to be home and have a family…’cuz this really is just to have money and just have an easy way in life. I’ll take some positives away, but I’m not sure this is really what I want.”

The statement that truly showed her maturity declared that pursuing this dream did not make her as happy as it seemed to make other people. Assessing her values and priorities, home and family are more important than fame and fortune. At this point in her life, she is not certain the risk is worth trying to have both.

Reality shows based on competition create high levels of stress that cause contestants to examine their values and ambitions. Experiencing a taste of that life brings them to count the costs of pursuing the dream. In the same way life’s crises press each of us to honest evaluation of what truly matters to us. The things we value determine the priorities we establish.

When we relax, priorities can easily become askew, causing us to make decisions that are not in line with our values. Crises, difficult as they may be, serve to help us realign our lives with the things we deem most important to us. The apostle Paul advised, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let’s stay focused on our reality with steady reminders of the things that drive us.

Is Your Game Face On?

August 24, 2013

Is Your Game Face On?

By Steven J. Callis


Little Larry was a new student in Miss Collins’ kindergarten class.  She asked him if he could name the four seasons of the year.  Larry proudly replied, “Winter, Spring, Summer, and Football!”

Yes, it’s that time again for the bears and wildcats and rams and cougars and lions and bulldogs and pioneers and warriors to hit the gridiron.  The most common nickname in college sports is the Eagle, followed by the Panthers, and then the Tigers.  College nicknames tend to follow in line with traditional mascots, but there are some exceptions.  For example, this fall you might see the Scorpions, Blue Hose, Bonnies, Johnnies, Tommies, Trolls, Horned Frogs, Jumbos, Gila Monsters, and my favorite, the Fighting Pickles playing football.

However, I have not found a helmet or uniform that is adorned with a mouse.  I suppose that is reserved for online schools only.  Every student gets to hold the mascot during online class!

No matter how common a school’s nickname may or may not be, it does seem to serve as an identifier, and also a unifier.  We take pride in who we are, and what we represent.  We wear our colors, protect our mascot, paint our faces, and with raised index finger shout at the TV camera as it spans our section of the bleachers, “We’re number one!”

And among that fan-atical crowd we find distinctions in gender, race, economics, grade point averages, politics, and interests, all united under one name that we bear with passion.  We have rallied for a cause.

My senior year in high school was in a brand new school that merged 4 existing schools into one.  Few of the seniors were happy about having to leave their true alma mater for one year at a new school. There were many challenges, obstacles, and conflicts to overcome.  One event that helped to unify this befuddled and somewhat belligerent student body was the privilege of determining the school nickname from a list of 3 choices.  With overwhelming solidarity, we became the Raiders, and many years later that school still stands and bears the Raider emblem.  Our game face was red, white, and blue.

What does your game face look like, in life, that is?  What drives you?  What is the passion that motivates you?  What does it look like when you are living from the center of your heart?  More poignantly, how does that passion impact those around you: your family, friends, school, church, workplace, and community?  How does that passion effect your world?

In the past it was called “giving it 110%.”  Today, athletes are exhorted to “leave it all on the field.”  Oh, that it could be said of me when I leave this earth, “He left it all on the field, and he did it for the glory of Christ.”