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End of the Week Thoughts on The Power of Doing What You Love – 2

July 18, 2010

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” — Frederick Buechner

I still have the same thoughts on my mind as last week, so I thought I’d continue my train of thought.

Here’s my thought, which is a pretty obvious one probably, but bear with me:

If you spend most of your time doing things that you love to do and that bring you satisfaction –>

you’re a happy person –>

you will in turn affect those around you positively, especially if you also set the intention to do something for others–>

everybody wins.

Yet, there is also the school of thought that if we want to ‘do good’ and make a difference in the world, we need to sacrifice and not pay so much attention to what it is we love to do and what energizes us.

But why not do both?

Intellectually speaking I know that this is the best course of action, and Frederick Buechner’s quote at the top of this post has long been one of my favorites. Yet, it is a different story to live it and as I feel questions surrounding this stirring in my heart and mind I feel a need to focus on this for a bit and see where it takes me.

There is a part of me that feels like my life will only have value if I live it for the sake of others. When I was little all I wanted to be when I grew up was a doctor and I wanted to travel the world helping those who couldn’t afford health care. Needless to say, I did not become a doctor. Worse, I found out that I really hated anything science related. And this may not be a big deal anymore now, but at the point in my life when I figured this out it felt close to losing my reason for living. I got through my loss of purpose, but I tell you, it was a bumpy road.

Part of my journey has been getting to know myself and in the process I realized the joy I get from simple things like making a meal and painting a piece of furniture. Yet, I still harbor dreams that involve traveling to Africa and this matter of making a difference is still a question that pops up from time to time.

This is one of the reasons I found the video by Jen Lemen so inspiring – it is a wonderful example of someone simply doing what she loves and using it for the good of others. She started off learning to capture her home life in her photos and she ended up taking photos of a new friend. It evolved into bringing the children of this friend from Rwanda to their mother in the States. She discovered in Africa that people she met there loved having their picture taken and it was a way for her to reach out to them and do something for them.

I think it can be tempting to think that one thing is more valuable in service to the world than another but somehow we can all use our gifts for the good of others.

And it may just be true that the place where God calls me, or you, is the place where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet, as Buechner’s words suggest. And that doesn’t mean that we all have to travel to Africa.

One of the things that touched my heart this past week was reading a blog post by Sarah Lacy. She wrote about a friend Hannah who loved to dance when she was little but had to give it up after her drug addicted mother went into a fit of rage after a recital and told her she was not allowed to dance anymore. Sarah is now raising money so her friend can start taking dance lessons again. You can read her story here.

Sarah is an artist and the photo above is of one of her beautiful paintings. She is selling high-quality prints of it to raise money. Another option is to donate any amount of money and if you choose, receive a PDF of the image to print out at home. What an awesome way of simply taking action and reaching out. Sarah noticed what made her friend come alive, cared enough to find out the story and set up a simple plan to take action. Isn’t that inspiring?


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