Without passion and planning life is lacking

The other Sunday I heard a head teacher speak about a new diary which had been given to her – her Passion Planner.  Yes, that is the name of her diary.  But it is of course, more than a diary. It is structured in such a way to enable her not just to record her appointments, but also to focus on her goals.

I went on-line to read more about this innovative diary:

Passion Planner is the one place for all your thoughts. It’s more than just a planner—it’s a tool that helps you break down your short and long-term goals and incorporate them into your daily life. It has been designed to encourage you to plan for the future, reflect on the past, but most importantly, act on the present. Think of it as a paper life coach — ready 24/7 to challenge you to focus on what is most important, accept your thoughts and ideas without judgment, and prompt you to reflect on your everyday life. We hope that it becomes a place where you can declutter your mind, allowing you to focus on the present moment.

I tend to be a passionate person, and so not surprisingly I like the word passion.  Yet without passion.  Passion produces energy, drives vision, and ignites. Not surprisingly, GWF Hegel once said: “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion”.

Leaders by definition need to be passionate if they are to be effective. In the words of Montgomery of Alamein:

A leader must exercise an effective influence, and the degree to which he (sic) can do this will depend on the personality of the man – the incandescence of which he is capable, the flame which burns within him, the magnetism which will draw the hearts of men toward him.

But passion is not just the preserve of leaders. I believe that passion should mark the service of every Christian. God doesn’t want us to serve him dutifully – he wants us to serve him passionately.  To serve God most effectively we don’t just have to have ability or experience, we also need passion – what Rick Warren calls ‘heart’.

But do we need a ‘passion planner’ to serve God?  Clearly I am not proposing that we all need to go out and order a commercial product such as the Passion Planner.  But what I am suggesting is that if we do not take steps to channel our passion for Christ, then our passion may well evaporate into thin air.  To draw upon the analogy of steam:  for steam to be productive it needs to be harnessed within some kind of machine – otherwise it will prove as ineffective as the steam from a boiling kettle.

One further thought:  retirement is not the end of passion!  Just before I retired I set out a list of ‘aims’ for the first year of my retirement. I wrote: “Enjoy the freedom which this new stage of life brings! Continue to grow and develop as a person. Find new ways of serving God and sharing my faith.” I then went on to set myself a number of goals.

Within a month or two of being retired Caroline and I were having supper with two ‘retired’ friends, both of whom are very involved in the life of the community. Out of the blue, the husband asked: “Paul, do you have a three- or five- year plan for the next stage of your life?” I had goals, but I had not developed a three-year plan. I do now!  For I have come to believe that without passion and without planning, life will not be all that it could be!

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