I am a passionate person.
I have very few nice pictures of me preaching because in every picture my hands are flying around so wildly that it looks like I have fins.
I like to move, I like to create, I like to innovate and come up with new ideas and dream about the future. I like to get involved in the lives of the girls I mentor.
But I have learned that passion actually offers me very little in actually making things happen. The inspiration may come from passion, but the results come from faithfulness.
Faithfulness, you see, is not sexy. The awards, the trophies, the recognition – they go to the ones with quick results, with dramatic stories, with an emotional display of how fast and how awesome and how viral we are. Awards rarely go to the steady. The faithful are rarely pulled up on a platform and applauded. Sometimes the faithful don’t even have the means to go to the ceremony.
Jesus modeled faithfulness for us. It is easy for us to note His passionate love for people. But He played the long game over thirty-three years. He asked us to follow, to walk slowly, to eat well and rest well and prepare for a life-long journey. Faithfulness isn’t glamorous. Oh, passion is – but if we are not people of faithfulness our passion won’t change anything.
In my early 20’s I had the incredible opportunity to be one of the songwriters and worship leaders for my church in Indianapolis. It was something I loved with all of my heart. I was incredibly passionate about it.
One Sunday I overslept and missed rehearsal. I frantically texted the worship pastor and he was gracious with me. But after first service he sat me down and said, “Kelly. Waking up and getting out of bed in the morning is the easiest thing you will do in your day. You need to make a decision now about what kind of person you want to be. You have too much potential to be a person who just doesn’t show up.”
I heard him. I had been valuing passion over faithfulness. I wanted people to see that I was passionate, but what my team and the church needed was someone who was faithful. (Ask any of the girls I have mentored – showing up on time is now an extremely high value in my life.)
We strive to be passionate people. People who make a name for themselves, people who leave a crater-sized impact on the lives of others. When actually what we are called to is day in, day out, showing-up-faithfulness. Passion fades. And when it does, if we are not people of faithfulness, the work that was sparked in the blaze of passion will die under the first drop of opposition. I know a lot of passionate people who haven’t changed much about the world because they couldn’t engage in the day-to-day faithful work of making it happen.
So to you, the faithful. You who show up, who does the hard stuff, who does what no one else will do to make it work. You who no one sees. You who have given your life to this. You who have watched others come in in a burst of passion and fire, and watched them leave – leave you still there to plod on in your boring, unpretty, alarm clock faithfulness. Keep plodding along. When you don’t see results – you just keep walking. When someone comes in blazing with passion – keep eating well and working steady. And at the end of the day, we all need you to rest well and get up and do it again tomorrow. And if you could have some patience with people like me – the people still learning that faithfulness outweighs passion – we could sure learn a lot from you.