passion or idol?

[legacy post from innovideo creative blog]

I suppose it is high time I hunker down and blog again. Things in my world have been a flurry of activity lately. I have been humbled to hear so much positive feedback about the Sonic video. Most of the credit goes to Emily and Reid, as well as Jerry Q in Manhattan who did the voiceover. In a small way, it represents every editor’s dream (or director, producer, what have you) of knowing you were a part of something that really connected with people. In this case, we’re hearing that it just may be the funniest video some folks have seen in church. Wow.

I have also been working to get the website fully functional. For some reason, it now seems that nobody using a PC can see any of the videos. Boo! Not sure what exactly the solution will be, but be assured I will not be satisfied with a video business website on which you can’t see the videos. Duh. As far as I can tell, if you’re on a Mac everything shows up fine. If it’s an option, that’s where to look for now. And I do promise that the “raving fans” video is very close to completion! And, iTunes emailed today that the podcast has been approved. Here’s a link. I feel so official.

I’m also working on other marketing tools. Thanks to the “fanning” of many friends (and about 10% of Facebookers I don’t even know), the innovideo creative fan page has well surpassed the 100 mark to get the vanity URL. So now I’ve got www.facebook.com/innovideo as well as www.twitter.com/innovideo. Too bad the /innovideo channel at YouTube is already taken. I wonder if you can transfer/buy that sort of thing? Oh, and I designed a pretty sweet business card… from scratch. Depending on which S&H option I choose, those should arrive within a couple weeks.

I have been challenged, as have many of us, to evaluate the “idols” in my life during the “Thou Shalt Not” series at church. It struck me hard this Sunday when Tom asked “what is it that dominates your thoughts?” I even imagined I heard him say, “what is it that invades your thoughts when you pray?” But that may just as well have been the Holy Spirit. Honestly, much of the time my thoughts turn to editing nuances that make make even a minor feature really special.

But where is the line between a passion and an idol? Because an idol is a good thing that’s become an ultimate thing. A passion is something that God has gifted you to do, that you love doing, that doesn’t feel like work (even though you will likely earn more doing what your passion is than a soul-sucking “j-o-b” – cf. Dan Miller’s 48 Days material). So how do I know when a good passion has taken God’s rightful place in my priorities and loves?

I think it comes down to motivation. When I am living in my passions, I do so with a desire to please and serve God, especially by serving people. That’s what allows me to lay my head on the pillow, satisfied that the day was well spent invested. If I were doing the exact same activities with an orientation that they are the ultimate end instead of a pathway in my relationship with God, I don’t think I would sense God’s pleasure in the moment. What did Eric Liddell say in Chariots of Fire? “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

passion-or-idol

Another example of how “very good” can become twisted into an ultimate, an idol, is my involvement at YouthFront Camps every summer. When I’ve focused on myself (I can show major signs of Messiah Complex sometimes), I turn to the petty concerns like whether the kids want to sit at my table, hang out with me, and such drivel. But when I have surrendered the time to God’s perfect will, some amazing things have resulted. This year I was blown away by an afternoon of conversations that I could never have asked for or imagined. A couple of 7th grade guys approached me at lunchtime that day, wanting to hang out and talk about something God was doing in and through them that week. They were not even in my cabin, since I move to the new 6th grade class each year. I later spent some time attempting to be Jesus’ arms and ears to a boy whose mom has been dealing with some pretty serious health challenges during the past year. Almost immediately afterward, I caught a student who had just come from his two-hour paintball session. As it turns out, that afternoon was his appointed time to commit his life to Christ! And very soon after that thrill, I was able to grab the very last moments of free time at Camp for the whole week with a student I had been trying to pry away from friends (esp. girls) all week. (It wasn’t easy.)

What an honor to be used that way! I still get goosebumps nearly two months later. I don’t remember being at all tired or frustrated in all that running around, even after a long week of Camp busyness. Yet, there were moments of brokenness that week, and even that very same day, that reminded me of my extreme frailty and imperfection. It’s as if God was showing me the juxtaposition between how He wants to use me as I depend on Him, and just how woefully inadequate I am in my own strength.

So I think that is where the line might be drawn. Follow your God-given passions and rely on His provision, strength, and direction. When you turn your eyes to how fantastic you are in your own abilities, the proverbial post-pride fall may be imminent. But certainly, the first two commandments have slipped out of view. At their core, all idols are really reflections of our own selfishness anyway.

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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