A Passion Discovery Self-Test
This web page is a short test to help you get in touch with
what you have a passion for. You probably have some ideas about
it. But most people find some surprises when they take a really
hard look to find out what their passions are.
Passions are a broad indicator which may or may not lead you
to the gift the Spirit has given you. Just because you have a
passion for something doesn't mean you have a gift; passion can
be misdirected or warped. There are passions at work in this
world that have no spiritual gifts. However, when the
Spirit gives you a gift, the Spirit will also give you a
passion for using it. This test is based on the idea that
the Spirit has probably already given you the
passion that matches the spiritual gift(s) that the Spirit
has given you. There are other things you may need too (wisdom,
training, accountability, experience, timing, opportunity,
support, etc.), but if something really gets you going, it's a
good sign that there's some sort of gift in it. With passion
comes dedication and perseverance -- you want to succeed at it,
so you become much harder to stop. With passion comes energy
and drive -- the Spirit revs your engines, you don't poop out
when the going gets long and tough. With passion comes
concentration and focus -- there's something you want to do,
and nothing else will distract you while you're doing it.
This passion, when you find it, will lead you to a sense of
mission, a sense of 'this is what I'm here for'. But keep this
in perspective : it's a mission that lives within a bigger
mission. For followers of Christ, each moment brings choices,
and each choice is to be answered in a way that is in keeping with the bigger
mission. You have the choice to do what creates for other
people more true happiness, more kindness, more love, more
empowerment, more truth. Or, you could choose to do otherwise,
to cut people down, to lie, to box them in and leave them weak,
and thus spit in Christ's face. Your choices will spring from
the Spirit's work of making you more of what God wants you to be. God's
way is the 'bigger mission' that is the setting for the
personal sense of mission your passions are pointing you
To get at your passions, go over the questions
below. Before you do, please take note:
- You'll be doing this on your own, not on line like at a
Gifts Inventory link site - which is good to
use, later. I don't want to know, and don't tell me.
I'm not peering at you through this screen (sorry,
paranoids), and noone's looking over your shoulder. There's
no scoring, no categories, just you, looking into
- It's best to print out this page, or at least save it as
'source' and view it off-line through the browser. If it
isn't finished in one sitting, don't worry, just keep praying
about it and working at it until you're done.
- Answer the questions without worrying about whether you
can actually do what you're thinking about, or whether
someone's going to try to stop you. Don't think about whether
it's right or wrong, positive or negative, normal or weird.
And don't think about how or when you'll do those things. All
of that's for another time. For now, just focus on answering
- Doing this is not meant to give you a 'final answer'. It can lead you nowhere in particular, and it may be just plain wrong. It's just one among many ways for finding out something about yourself.
Now, for the test questions :
- What one subject can you enjoy talking about for many hours?
- Do any of your hobbies involve working a lot with other people?
- What specific concerns preoccupy your mind, breaking into whatever else you're thinking about?
- What do you most enjoy doing for others?
- Let's pretend you've reached the end of your life, and you're in heaven looking back on it. What's the one thing you want to be most happy about having done or having been?
- Who 'out there' in the world have you come to care about the most? Who do you most want to help, enable, or reach? (You define the categories, whatever way you want. Go with your first instincts.)
- Now, write down at least five of your life experiences that most gave you a sense of fulfillment and/or growth. (Don't think about them until later -- just write them down for now.) If more experiences come to mind, just keep listing them until you exhaust yourself. You'll sort them out later.
Now that you've gone through all of these questions
(NO SKIPPING!! DO THEM ALL!!), it's time to think
on these things. Look for patterns, underlying themes, and
common traits to the answers you gave. Ask yourself : who else
benefitted from it, and what was your role in creating that
benefit? Did you discover abilities you didn't know you had,
and what were they? Did any of the answers give you thrills?
Tears? Narrow it down, focus on the strongest themes, and work
toward a conclusion you can state in one direct
Enter this evaluation phase by praying. Then move from prayer to meditation over the matter,
then move from meditation into silence and waiting upon the
Lord, keeping your spiritual ears open for the Spirit's message
- You'll probably find that you can't come to a conclusion,
or that something seems amiss, or that there's no leading
from the Spirit. If so, stop, and then pray on it at least
once every day and whenever else you feel led to think about
it. Move from prayer to meditation to silence. There are few
guarantees on spiritual matters, but one of them is that God
is working with you and in you. You may not get a conclusion
at this time in your life, but trust that the Spirit will
eventually sort it out with you at the right time.
- If you come to a conclusion, then you have discovered a
passion that is rooted deep within you and has already had a strong impact
on your life. That passion needs direction. The best way to
find that direction is to discover the spiritual gift(s) that
go with that passion. That's a more complicated matter, and
there are tests and tools to help you discover the gift. But
at least now, after doing this self-evaluation, you have a
good place to start the adventure. Or better, to make the
next turn on the road God has already put you on.
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Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must
listen to my life telling me who I am.
------- Parker Palmer, *Let Your Life Speak*
Copyright © 1996, 2002-2012 by Robert Longman.