Discovering what you love, Shannon's Story

We know there are things we should do, and things we want to do. The key is to balance them out. That doesn't mean giving up doing the laundry, so you have time to paint. Rather, it means finding a happy moment each day, or weekly, where you are allowed time to yourself. The happiest woman I have met yet told me her secret. She decided every year one thing she wanted to master. Every year, it was something different. Something about which she was passionate. She was a master photographer, hang glider, skydiver, deep sea diver, painter, and was working on building chairs. She raised 10 well-rounded children; all ready to take on the world. Just as their mother had. She had the energy and drive to teach her children, and provide them a great example because she allowed herself time to be herself.

Someone once told Erin, "Save guilt for sin." It is OK to invest time in doing things you love. Give yourself permission to be happy. Your world does not have to be perfect for you to be happy. It's OK to take a few moments each day to do something you love. God has given you talents, develop them.

Realize that if you decide to make what you love a full-time job, it has to go beyond passion. For example, when I decided I wanted to be an artist, I received an order asking for fifty prints in a week. I had to learn to market, package, and master various other areas of business. If you are going to make a career out of a passion, know there are going to be passionless moments where you are pushing through the less inspired moments and merely doing the hard work. However, it can be fulfilling as your choice.

Loving what you do, Erin's Story

When I was a young mother, I decided I was going do my very best for my family. I was going to make a nice breakfast every morning, have a clean house, cook organic homemade baby food, and have home baked cookies ready every afternoon when my kids came home from school. I would never spank my children, or even raise my voice to them. I had read many parenting books, and knew exactly how to parent them. Most importantly, my husband and I would never, ever fight. As I stared into the eyes of my firstborn son, I was smitten. This was going to be easy.

To make a long and embarrassing story short, it wasn't easy. My passion for perfection was hard on my family and even harder on my self-esteem. Realizing you are a unique person with talents to offer the world can change the way you look at life. Instead of trying to be someone else, work hard to be yourself. When you decide what you want to do, there are a few things to consider:

  • When you discover what you love, decide if it's something you can do.

  • Sometimes doing too much of what you love can take a toll on your family.

  • You may discover a new love for what you already do. Remember work isn't work if you enjoy doing it.

  • Remember when you were 6 and colored every paper in the house, including some of the walls? You enjoyed it. Maybe, you still do.

  • Loving what you do takes work. Albert Einstein said, "Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep pedaling."

When I decided I was done trying to be everyone else and decided to take a chance being myself, I realized I loved serving my family. My love of learning new things was not only fun for me but useful for my family. I learned how to change the brakes on my car, and how to grow a vegetable garden. I learned how to preserve the food I grew and found out I loved doing it. I learned to knit and sew for my little girl. Now, I am not a pro at any of these things, but I enjoy it. It took time and perseverance, but I learned to let go of the perfect and embrace the "me." If you allow yourself to do what you love, you may realize you now love what you do.

Take the time to reflect on yourself. What makes you happy? Who are you when you are the most comfortable? Be that person. You never know what may happen. You may discover a new talent, or an old one you've shelved. Go ahead! Do what you love so you can love what you do.

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