I had just graduated from college. My aspirations were high. My goals were aimed for the sky. I had a diploma in my hand and was ready to take on the world. Jumping in my car, I headed down for sunny Florida. I had landed an interview (thanks to a friend) with Disney Vacation Club. My resume was filled with all sorts of part time jobs since the age of 15, but nothing stuck out. My college degree was the highlight of my resume. You know what I am talking about. We have all been there. Disney was my dream job. I was so passionate about Walt Disney World.
For years, I had been going to Walt Disney World with my family. There was barely a year that we didn’t go down to Orlando and visit the parks. My dad and brother had spent many years working construction projects for the theme parks and resort area. We were even at the Orlando theme park the year it opened – 1971. My dad worked on all sorts of projects, and I really think his dream retirement job would have been to work in the parks.
So I am sure you can see where my passion for this job began. Unfortunately, passion for something with no preparation can turn into disaster. You see, I went down to Orlando and entered the lobby of this huge complex. I sat down in front of that gracious man, and he began to ask me questions. I don’t remember my exact words, but I do remember at one point telling him my passion for this great place; this place that I desperately wanted to work at, this place that could open the door of my career.
That is all I had. I couldn’t give him my experience because I didn’t even know what the job he was offering me consisted of. I didn’t know what would be expected of me and I didn’t care because it was DISNEY. I hadn’t prepared for the interview. I didn’t know what the Disney Vacation Club even did. I didn’t know what a time share was. I didn’t know anything. So after the interview concluded, he sent me down to the area where all the peons go, and I got a job working a cash register at EPCOT. Not really what I had thought would happen with my marketing degree. My heart was crushed.
When we go into something with a lot of passion – it just isn’t enough. We have to be prepared. Preparation includes research, hard work and prayer. Passion isn’t enough.
In my life, I have spent many years being passionate about my relationship with God. I have truly loved and cared for Him. I did all kinds of volunteer projects because I was passionate for Him. BUT I am sad to say I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t researched, put in hard work and prayed about where God was calling me. I was just going through the motions; living on my high from a retreat or bible study. I never once thought about praying to God about how I could make this passion turn into something real.
Passion is the spark that can reveal to us our faith. Passion can start your faith, but preparation is what allows you to strengthen that faith, to truly rely on God and to give your full heart to Him. Passion also can drive us in the opposite direction of God. Just like my Disney experience, we can use our passion for Christ to ignite us, but if we aren’t really in it for the right reasons, that passion can rear its ugly head on us. It can show us that without prayer, without full trust in God, religion isn’t what we expected.
I found out right away that getting my way up the ladder of “success” at Disney would require a lot of hard work, determination and prayer. I didn’t have that. I didn’t have any of it. I was only passionate for the big job, not the little peon job. I wasn’t prepared for being turned away and because of that, I found myself in a downward spiral.
Passion in the dictionary is “any powerful or compelling emotion.” Just by definition we can see that passion can change from love to hate in a snap. Why does that happen? It happens because we are not prepared for that strong emotion. When faced with love of something, then having that something denied to us (or at least what seems denial), our love turns to anger which turns to hate. Strong emotions are dangerous when we aren’t prepared for the outcome.
Let’s take marriage as an example. Marriage starts with passion. We fall in love, we see all the goodness of the person, and we enjoy all the moments we spend together. All the sudden, after we get married there is all this hard work, compromise, and trust that must be placed within each other. It isn’t so fun. Passion becomes something that looks a lot like friendship. If we aren’t prepared for that change, our passion can turn us away from our marriage. Hard work, determination and prayer can reap rewards from our passion.
So when you go to that event (a retreat, a concert or a bible study) that sparks your passion for God, when you hear words spoken by others that ignites that fire within you – what should you do? Be prepared – be ready to work hard for God, to persevere through trials and to pray all along the way. The end result will be worth it, but you have to put in the time first.
What happened to my Disney career? Well my passion turned to anger, and I left that job. Now, I cannot say that makes me sad because I met Pete due to that choice, but my life may have been quite different if I would have changed that passion from anger to love. If I would have put in the hard work, stayed focused on my goal and prayed for God’s guidance, life might have been quite different. I eventually learned to turn that passion toward God once again, but it took years.
Use your passion for God’s Glory. Pursue the goal of eternal life. Allow God to work with your passion instead of against it. Be prepared for what lies ahead.
“Passion without prayer is prostitution. Prostitution by definition is the unworthy use of a skill of ability.” — Pat Layton