It was the former President of the United States Ronald Reagan who is reported to have said, “My name is Ronald Regan, I am the President of the United States of America. But you don’t need to introduce yourself because everyone knows who Pele is”. This happened when Reagan met Pele in the White House. Football had made Pele mighty: A giant easily distinguishable than the President of the most powerful nation on earth. A survey in the 1970s indicated that his name ranked second to Coca-Cola as the most popular brand in Europe. It is no wonder that one of the African football wizards was named after him: Abedi Ayew. That is the end product of talent and passion mixed in equal proportion.
Football fans are enthusiastically waiting for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in the months of June and July. World Cup is one event that is watched by fanatics, fans and the not-so-concerned-about-sports fellows. It pulls all humanity together. It coalesces the old and the young. It mesmerises men and women alike.
Confederations Cup is a run-up to World Cup. We are not sure if the Germany machine we witnessed in 2014 World Cup is still oiled. Will they ruthlessly demolish every opponent as it was in Brazil, or will they be one hit wonder like Spain?
I was one of the ardent supporters of Brazil in 2014 and you can guess how disillusioned I became as my favourite team crumbled like a pack of cards. I cannot explain my love for Brazil. I cannot decipher how this affection came about. I cannot decrypt the codes of chemistry chords binding me to Brazil. The glue that tied me to Brazil might have been enchanted by a powerful necromancer. In point of fact, I cannot do my readers justice by alluding to the source of fascination. Perhaps it is because I grew up in the times when Brazil was a punishing football apparatus. Otherwise, I read a lot about their soccer power and prowess something that led me to conclude that they were invincible. Who would not be an admirer of a national team that its history is etched in big names such Ronaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Bebeto, Rivaldo, and Edmundo?
The alternative national team I vouched for was Argentina. I was consoled when they scrapped through to finals. I was bewitched by names such as Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta.
Robert J. Vallerand, in his book Psychology of Wellbeing, defines Passion as a strong inclination toward a self-defining activity that people like (or even love), find important, and in which they invest time and energy on a regular basis.
We all have dispositions we can call our passions. We have strong penchants towards them. We also have activates that we like but do not really have strong inclinations towards them. Perchance you like watching documentaries, movies with historical themes, and a little bit of fantasy (because fantasy is imagination at its best); playing golf, football, singing, cooking, reading biographies, vacationing and travelling, among others.
In my case, I would prefer watching documentaries to watching athletics. I would watch fantasy film rather than drama. Historical films would do me well than soaps. I would rather choose reading rather than watching. Nevertheless am picky with what I read.
All passions are temporal. They do not last a lifetime. They dissipate like the morning dew. Life is not all about our proclivities. There are more to life than just playing golf and football, singing and dancing, cooking and serving, watching films and listening to music, travelling and vacationing, reading and writing. There are more important things like our relationship with God, Family, God’s calling on our lives and our organisations that are engaged in helping humanity.
We can continuously channel our passions in the right direction. We can become passionate about God and our relationship with him; about our families and our responsibility towards them; about God’s calling in our lives and how we can use it to influence the world – singing, compassion, preaching, pastoring, teaching……..among others. We can also become passionate about organisations we serve in and use them to transform our societies.
What are you passionate about?
Have you discovered God’s calling over your life? What do you love doing? What are the most important things in your life?
There are other several questions that can help us discover our passions in the Kingdom of God.
- Are our relationships with God satisfactory? What do we think should change to make them vibrant and fulfilling?
- How do we want people to remember us?
- What do people say you are most passionate about?
- Has God given you convictions and what are they?
- Have you discovered how God has gifted you, and what are those gifts?
- What do you want to accomplish as a member of your Church, as a parent, as a spouse, as a youth?
- How has God used you to influence others?
Answering these questions is not enough. It is just the beginning of a journey to self-discovery; a journey that should take you close to your purpose in the Kingdom. As we do this let us not forget that every passion in the Kingdom that is not undergirded by love is self-serving at best and self-defeatist at worst.