What I SAY I'm afraid of:
I'm afraid that if I do what I want, I'll be guilty of not denying myself. But wait... What if denying myself means something different than that? What if God wants us to deny things that are sinful like obsession, porn, greed, guilt, vanity, jealousy, hatred, lust... not necessarily the things that are good and that He has planted in your soul, music, poetry, painting, singing, hiking, swimming, drawing buildings, riding a motorcycle, running a marathon, teaching English, writing stories, making films... Why would I think He wants those things to go? I mean, does He want me to stop eating too? Or does He only want me to eat food in the Church so that people know that I am eating for the Lord? Will starving or eating at Church show God that I love Him?
What I am REALLY afraid of:
I am afraid that if I do what I am passionate about, I will fail and God will abandon me because maybe I secretly wonder sometimes if God is really there and stepping outside the Christian Subcultural Bubble might show me that I isn’t really there. I am afriad that I'll disappoint other Christians who think they know what God's will is for me because of their own fear or needs. Also, doing the thing that I really love would mean that I would have to give up worrying about money, or comparison, at least for a while. But I love to worry about money cause I like to think that somehow, this other thing that I do and call "surrendering to the Lord" pays the bills and its safe. I like to think that I've played major hand in acquiring the cool things in my apartment. Pshaw.
Well maybe God requires more out of me. Maybe he requires that I trust in the basic passions for good and creative things that He has set afire in me and that I am not worry if there are other people doing the same thing that are as good or much better. Maybe He desires that I trust that He is that good. Maybe He is the kind of God that would plant the love to create and want me to delight in the creating of it. Maybe He isn't the cosmic Carrot Dangler that I have grown up to know. Maybe I have thought that because I have been too busy worshiping what and how I am saying it instead of the God that gave me the voice to say it.
And maybe, if I saw it that way, I could be paralyzed from the neck down tomorrow and still be left with Joy inextinguishable and let everything go without regret because I did what I was suppose to do with what I was given.
What if I took Jesus at his word and didn’t worry about tomorrow or what I will eat, or how the bills get paid. (I’m not talking about being a bum here; I know there are a billion things that come to mind when asking this.) I’m talking about being like the Lilies or the Birds. They don’t toil, they aren’t busy trying to be something else because they are afraid that “being a Lilly” or “being a bird” won’t cut the mustard thank you very much God.
Maybe following and doing what you are really passionate about is real faith, and all that other stuff is blaming my lack of faith on God and calling it "sacrifice," or "taking up my cross" or "denying myself."
I have a hunch that I may be a little more thankful for what He has done in me if I actually do what He has set me free to do rather than trying to be thankful for being too afraid to do it.
I think if more Christians would do what they are truly passionate about, the world might actually believe them when they say that they are so thankful for a God who has set them free.