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Isn’t this what we’re all longing for? Isn’t this what we call success? Doing what you love and loving what you do? Being passionate about all the parts that make your life. About your personal life as well as your career.

Some might argue that doing work that you don’t feel as ‘work’ is not necessarily the best thing that could happen to you. They point out that it is good for you to do stuff that you don’t like and that you do because you have to. This is supposed to teach discipline, humility and self-control. These same people might also say that it’s not that bad to do work that you’re not passionate about, after all none of our ancestors really had a choice, and they all ended up loving the work that was imposed to them by family traditions and other circumstances.

But, let’s be serious do you really have to continue in these patterns even if you do have a choice. For you could hardly say that in today’s world opportunities are missing (I’m talking about the privileged part of the world). Even if there might be little market demand for your dream job, passionate people have such an extraordinary way to create their own market and to reshape the world. So, in theory, we are free and have the means to pursue our interests and lead a passionate life. Why then, are there so few of us who truly find accomplishment in the work they do each day?

One of the reason that I’m going to talk about here is the fact that we are programmed out of this freedom.

What are you being taught when going to kindergarten and told you have to draw even if you would rather listen to a story, or that you have to play when you would much rather draw? This starts small but continues to gain importance as the years go by. After, for the past 12 years or more of your life, you have been told you should better do some math than dance, or chemistry when you’d rather read a novel, you find yourself in front of a choice, the only one allowed to you in such a long time. Choose a career! You remember all the things that you were passionate about at one moment or another but your interest in them has been crushed. They don’t seem that important anymore. What’s important is where the high paying jobs are, and that is all you can hear around you.

So you choose, and choose the same thing each and every day, until you get sick of it or so used to it that it doesn’t matter any more.

You lay try hard to become passionate about what you do, and you might succeed. Or you might one day choose to let yourself go and let your interests lead you. Who know where they may take you?

 

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It was love at first sight. The first time I read about the concept I was conquered. Maybe because it expressed some of the aspirations and convictions that I had deep down inside me but was not able to express.

This is such an amazing, life-changing, revolutionary and yet so simple concept. Unfortunately, we don’t think, talk or meditate about it enough. If I should make a wish for my children’s education it would be this: that they be lifelong learners. This implies so many aspects that are dear to my heart.

For the lifelong learners learning is a way of life. They love to learn and do not dread it as a school imposed activity. Their creativity and spontaneity have not been stifled by institutions. They’re curios, hungry-minded and aren’t afraid to ask questions. They love experimenting and pursue their interests with determination. Most of all, they have found a meaningful purpose for their life and they are passionate about making the world a better place.

I want this for my children (and for all the children in the world) but I also want it for myself (and all the adults in this world). I may not have started quite right but it’s never to late to fall in love with learning.

This is too important to be ignored and left at the charge of others even if they are passionate teachers. You have to take charge of your own education, because you’re the only one who has a real interest in being successful at it. Start today!

“for God loves a cheerful giver …” [2 Corinthians 9:7]

I have recently been asked for help by a friend. She is not the one in need but a family from her church is struggling with financial problems.

They have been in a financial ditch for the past couple of years. She and her husband are nice people, they have two wonderful daughters and are trying to figure out how to best live their life. They have a debt that is eating away most of his paycheck, and she just got a job after a long period of unemployment.  Moreover, from what I understand they are far from wise when it comes to finances and budgeting. None the less, until a year ago we and a couple other families have been helping them with a monthly sum of money.

So, you see, my friend was kind of embarrassed to ask us for help in their name. But they are in a desperate situation; they have not payed their rent for some time now and are threatened with eviction.

We will help them, both with money and with our prayers, but what is bothering me is that little voice in the back of my mind, that says “They don’t really deserve it” or “Don’t give them too much, they won’t manage it well anyway”.  I guess it’s human. Judging others, I mean. It comes naturally. Although we’re hardly in the position to judge.

That got me thinking about giving, and the reasons and motivations behind it. And then I couldn’t help visualizing  the one gift that I value most. The gift of Life, God’s gift of His Life so that we can have it abundantly. And I wondered what if Jesus had the same voice popping out in the back of His mind saying “She doesn’t deserve it, none of them deserve it”. Oh, I’m so grateful that He didn’t pay any attention to it, and gave Himself fully, knowing there was the risk that we mistreat His gift.  And what is even more intriguing is that He didn’t attach any conditions to this gift.

When helping people that “don’t deserve it” there is this temptation to make them “sign a contract”. You feel that if you force them to change one or two things that are wrong in their life in order to benefit from your gift, that will do them so much more good.  You know, like “OK, I’ll help you out this time but I want to see a monthly budget and I want you to commit to it”. Don’t get me wrong, these are good things and the motives might be laudable. But this just isn’t the way God gives.

He just gives. To those who appreciate it and to those who don’t. To those who deserve it (is there anyone? not the last time I counted ) ant especially to those who don’t. If there is a string attached to his gifts it’s only his invitation to get to know Him. He builds relationships. And hopes that if we hang out together we will end up learning a thing or two from Him. He hopes, he doesn’t impose. And you know what he does if He doesn’t see a return on investment? He just continues to give, His love, His blessings, His care. And He continues to hope.

After all this thinking, I feel much relieved and cheerful about giving to those in need whether my alter ego thinks they deserve it or not. I also feel compelled to completely model Christ’s generosity, by building a relationship with those we help. By giving them more than just money, by giving them love and a part of ourselves. Offering them our friendship and sharing tactfully practical wisdom that we have gained from our own struggles in this area. And most of all praying for them.