“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
Remember when Creed was cool? What’s that? They never were? Oh, well, me neither then.
I actually used to have a slight obsession with Creed, way back in the 90’s, before I had any hair on my legs. Creed was the perfect group for me, back then. They were kind of cool, like a rock band. They wore dark shirts and jeans with holes in them; intentional holes, like the ones in American Eagle. I think one guy even had a leather necklace, probably the drummer. Creed was the perfect blend of cool for a preacher’s kid. They were just cool enough to listen to, but not “too cool”, where I’d have to hide their CDs from my parents, like Nelly.
I remember riding in the car with my mom, frantically changing radio stations in hopes that I’d hear a powerful, yet rugged ballad from my favorite band. Three of the six channels in my mom’s car were Christian radio stations. And I don’t have any problem with Christian music, but let’s be honest, it’s not Creed. This left me with three viable station options. I toggled tirelessly through these channels, hoping and praying. I was certain God would grant my request if it was a Christian song I was asking for. So when I prayed, I reminded Him that Creed never said any cuss words, and depending upon the series, some of the songs could be used in church.
And then it would happen. For reasons I no longer understand, the DJ would play a Creed song. Quickly, I would turn the volume up until my mom and I agreed on an acceptable decibel level. I’d sit back in my chair, relaxed. Sometimes I’d even recline the chair, if I was in the front seat. For the next 3 to 4 minutes, I was happy. I had found what I was looking for. Everything seemed right with the world. After the song ended, the search would commence once again, and I’d continue to plead with my mom to take me to American Eagle.
Have you ever searched radio stations like that? Hopefully it wasn’t a Creed song you were craving, but surely there was a song you just couldn’t wait to hear. And when you finally found what you were searching for, you turned the volume up, and for a few minutes everything seemed okay.
I think this is what happens when we find what we’re good at. I like to think of it like a radio station, and a Creed song. For most of our lives, we’re searching. We’re frantically pushing buttons, hoping and praying that we’ll find that thing, the thing that resonates with our soul. We change majors and careers, we start businesses and close businesses, we try hobbies and quit hobbies, searching for a passion.
The frustrating thing is, it seems like most of our lives consists of just pushing buttons. Rarely do we find that one station, the one that compels us to turn up the volume. Sometimes there are small glimpses of a passion, but they are fleeting and usually not practical enough to pursue. So eventually, we stop pushing buttons. After enough frustration, we decide to settle on a station that doesn’t really fit us and turn the volume to a level that won’t annoy us too much.
But what I’m learning is, we can’t really live with the radio turned off. Settling for stuff that doesn’t fit us isn’t really living, it’s just surviving, hoping we’ll be comfortable and not too annoyed. I think the solution to finding what we’re good at is to keep pushing buttons. Keep searching, keep listening, volunteer somewhere, take those classes you’ve been thinking about, put some paint on the empty canvas. And when we find those little glimpses, the ones that make our hearts beat a little quicker, we should turn up the volume and pursue it. See, the stuff we’re good at, our talents and passions, are gifts from God. And how we use those things are our gifts back to Him. Living a life with the volume down is living below our potential, it’s not what we were made for. So keep searching, keep pushing buttons, and when you find it, blast it out.