Precepts: Passion, Adornment & Goodnight.

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Welcome back to my Precepts series—inspired by meaningful thoughts, insights, and discoveries I have during each week, and intentionally designed to help make your life just a little bit better. Enjoy!

You can find the Precepts series in its entirety here.

Precept 60: Passion

Are you scratching your head about how to find your purpose in life, or perhaps feeling disappointed that you haven't yet become fully self-actualized with your life's purpose because you haven't yet figured out how to “merge” your work and play? Well, I have news for you: you probably still need to find your passion.

See, when you're regularly engaged with something or someone you're passionate about, you'll often find that the notion dissolves that you must, for life satisfaction and fulfillment, have full alignment between work and play, between career and hobbies, or between paycheck and passion. You may instead find that that spark in your soul that I talk about here is able to light your internal fire for life because you're fueling it with your passion.

For example, I've experienced a bit of drudgery of late in my work. It seems like I'm in the weeds, a lot – fixing problems, managing rather than making, working in my business instead of on my business, and not necessarily doing what I know is my true calling for my career, namely, teaching, writing, podcasting, speaking, and consulting. Those are the things I love to do and I'm actually quite passionate about, but there are some weeks I instead find myself on a host of Zoom calls or meetings discussing, say, new HR company hires, fixing a new technical problem on the website, e-mail open rate issues, etc., etc.

But I'm actually still quite happy and enjoying life quite a bit.

Why?

Because I'm still doing other things I'm passionate about, such as hopping in my car and driving to pickleball league after work, hanging out with my family for family dinner nights, shooting my bow, exercising, and writing new songs on my guitar. I've got so many little passion projects that I can engage with that it doesn't really matter (and it shouldn't matter for you either) that my work and my passion don't currently fully align.

So maybe you're an IT consultant who doesn't enjoy their data-entry job too much. Did you enjoy playing soccer as a kid? Then join a soccer club.

Maybe you're a waiter who knows your real passion is music. Then take singing lessons in the car while driving to and from your job and join the church choir on the weekends.

Perhaps you are a personal trainer who would rather be out barbecuing steaks and making recipes instead of counting reps for your client. Well, guess what? You don't have to “merge” your work and passion by dragging a BBQ grill in next to the bench press. Instead, throw a weekly dinner party in which you cook up a fantastic meal for all your friends. Fuel your fire and feed your spark with your passion, and don't feel guilty or left out or a failure because your work isn't your “play.” Sure, it can be, such as having a job as a tennis pro and simultaneously loving the heck out of tennis, but it doesn't have to be.

Finally, here's a simple way to think about passion: passion is what you can’t not do. So let me now ask you: what is it that YOU “can't not do”? (hint: as you can read here, the answer is likely right underneath your nose). 

Precept 61: Adornment

How often do you think about what you wear?

Perhaps you have just thought to yourself Gee, probably too much Ben!. Or perhaps you thought of the Bible verse found in Matthew 6:25 that says: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

Yes, I realize that vanity is a problem for many, especially those who have ignored the sage wardrobe advice from successful folks like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg and instead spend 30 minutes engaged in decision-making fatigue and time-wasting while dressing themselves each morning. I also realize that most people spend more time than they probably should worrying about the way they look or the appearance of their body. So I'll be more specific…

…how often do you consider the global impact of the clothing you wear? See, your shirt, pants, and underwear aren't just pure aesthetic adornment. Instead, like food, textile production is an industrial process with great potential to damage the precious planet we've been tasked with caring for, damage your body that serves as a temple for your spirit, or most likely, damage both. In the same way that there can be junk food, there can of course be junk clothing, and it's highly likely, and somewhat ironic, that at least some of the clothing you're wearing right now is made of processed synthetic fabrics loaded with the same kind of chemicals you've quite possibly been attempting to eliminate from your diet.

So how sustainable is your adornment? To be truly sustainable, your adornment must be good for your health and for the health of the Earth too. Here are a few tips for you, and if you'd like to get into the nitty-gritty details of these tips, then please go explore a fantastic article here written by my friend and wellness expert Mark Sisson.

-Don’t wear snug fitting polyester underwear, which is basically like feeding your skin and genitals a steady diet of plastics (in fact, tight clothing in general is not that great for lymph or blood flow).

-Limit or eliminate print tees (printed graphics on fabrics are the primary source of dermal exposure to harmful chemicals like benzothiazole).

-Limit water-resistant or stain-resistant clothing, which are notorious sources of the “forever chemicals” linked to fertility issues, hormonal changes, and chronic health conditions.

-Limit wrinkle-free clothing, which is usually dosed with formaldehyde.

-Buy your leggings and yoga pants carefully because many popular legging brands, like lululemon and Old Navy, also contain forever chemicals.

-Focus on quality over quantity by investing in healthier, sustainable fabrics that last longer, such as organic cotton, wool, linen and tencel.

-Consider visiting thrift stores to shop for well-worn natural sustainable fabric clothing that’s had time to leach out most of its chemical load.

I realize none of this may seem too spiritual and instead a bit rational, scientific, logical and materialistic, but I believe deep in my heart that God cares about something as seemingly simple as your clothing. After all, in addition to all the anecdotes about clothing found in places like this, Scripture records how He clothes the grass of the field, designed with great specificity the wardrobe of the Israelite priests, differentiated between clothing worn by men versus that worn by women, and perhaps most notably, was the first ever clothing tailor on record for all of human history! (Genesis 3:21, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them”).

Precept 62: Goodnight

A few evenings ago, I was getting a massage in my basement living room. My son River popped downstairs to say good night to me and give me a kiss on the cheek, but my son Terran did not. Later, I learned that Terran had gotten so tired after dinner after a long day of school and play that he simply passed out in his bed a bit early. However, I didn't know this at the time, and so, as I lay on the massage table, my mind began to wander into feelings of sadness, overridden with thoughts such as, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Is his love for me fading?”, and “Am I no longer important to him as a father?”.

But then I realized something.

Nearly every day of every year for the past 25 years since I left my parents' house, I have not said goodnight to my Dad or my Mom.  

Yes, this means that on an average of 29.99 days out of every month, my parents – who used to be able to be given a bedtime hug and kiss by me 100% of the time – don't ever experience me saying goodnight to them.

Sure, I call my Mom on the phone a few times a week. My Dad and I text quite a bit. I visit them or they visit me at least once a month. But I certainly don't tuck either of my parents in at night, nor do I even call them every day. So should I be connecting with my parents each evening to wish them good night? Should you? Or do us parents and our own parents just need to “let go and let God” as our children age, and accept the fact that part of life – albeit a hard and emotionally difficult part of life – is knowing that we won't be able to say goodnight to our children anymore, at least not every night? 

Perhaps it's a bit of both. Perhaps you should call or visit your parents when you can and as often as possible, send photos, maintain touch points and honor them. Perhaps you also shouldn't guilt-trip yourself into thinking your parent needs you to hold their hand all the time. But I'm curious to hear your feedback on this matter, which you can leave below.

That's it for this week! If you have questions, comments, or feedback below, please leave your thoughts. I read them all!

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2 thoughts on “Precepts: Passion, Adornment & Goodnight.

  1. Ellen says:

    A wonderful post Brett! I “ditto” comments about learning from Ben. He has a gift (a passion :) and bravely shares. We all should both speak and hear from others… but caveat, the words we speak must be with good intentions…as are Ben’s. We know evil is all around, desiring to lure us.

    I am currently struggling to discern my passion. How timely this post. Thank you Lord and Ben! Not sure I ever slowed enough to focus on it. I just went about life – working, being responsible – as raised, but yet…was lured into the culture / the world for many years. It seems since retiring from full time, then erratic part-time, to care-giving (which started for a stranger needing organ transplant for approx 1.5 years, and who is presently out of my reach but for whom I care very much — please pray for Joshua), I don’t know what it is I should do. I feel detached. I am just recently back from 5-weeks with my 92 year old mom in FL (who I hugged, kissed, and waited on every day while there and enjoyed it, just as it was when I was young), and now that my calendar is pretty open, I am spending time with the LORD, to read, be still, and to wait. I also hope during this open window of an open calendar, to organize things in my condo. Things are currently a bit too untidy for my personality! I love the freedom of rural living, nature, and having a view of creation along with feeling the sun on my face, but I am unsure where it is God might have me go, if anywhere – despite the feeling of having wanted to go for years now. I desire to know what the Lord’s will is, so (I try) patiently to wait; accepting this is perhaps just a time of refreshing.

    Of note: My parents (of four children) raised us in rural MD and once we had all left the nest (which was in our early 20’s), they ‘flew the coop’ (relocating to FL). They started over I reckon, finding a new church and new friends & neighbors – all the while having visits back and forth, along with calls and cards, and now also emails. Dad died in 1998 and Mom has been blessed to live in the same house to this day. She’s an outstanding beautiful mom and role model. She shared the hardest job is to be a parent: to responsibly raise children, to teach them right from wrong, and then release them to grow into their own role. I cannot say enough about her strength and Godly love. I love and thank them both, and God–who blessed me with them for parents!

  2. Brett Hammons says:

    Response to Precept 62: Goodnight
    Good morning, Ben
    I’m a 42 year-old man. My father died 15 years ago after battling lung cancer for 5 years. My mother died 2 years ago after battling severe mental illness her whole adult life. I was fortunate to live close to them so that I could provide whatever help and care that I could through their health challenges.

    I can’t say exactly what anyone “should” do in regards to their relationships with their parents or children. Heck, I don’t even have any children and still wonder if God has that in the cards for me. I will say, whatever you decide to do, make it “count.” Grief is the hardest. We tend to immediately feel there’s more we “should” have done once they are gone. Make it count while they are still on this earth.

    I woke up this morning, just a couple hours before reading your precepts here, and after having a wonderful dream. I was in a driveway with 2 of my brothers tinkering on something mechanical, a go-cart maybe. My mom appeared in the back of the garage over our shoulders just smiling, acknowledging what us boys were up to. She began to walk inside and I got up and hurried to give her a hug and kiss goodbye. Then I woke up.

    Thank you Ben for all that you do as I have learned and applied a tremendous amount of knowledge you’ve shared over the years.

    Respectfully,

    Brett
    Cincinnati, Ohio

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