Find Your Fun and Discover Your Purpose

Ashlee Eiland

by Ashlee Eiland


It all started with an old-school computer from the 90s and some good, old-fashioned imagination.

As an only child without anyone to talk to but my parents and our family sheepdog, I took to storytelling early on. I’d invent characters in my head and then clunkily type out fantastical stories of love and drama, loss and triumph, creating worlds with a word processor. I was hooked.

No surprise, then, that a couple decades later, my life as an author, leader, and bridge-builder has inched upward, growing steadily over time along the trellis of storytelling. Whether teaching or writing, story has become the vehicle through which I communicate the greatest story ever told: the one of God’s love and redemptive Good News.

But we’re not all in seasons where we’re immersed in a beloved vocation fueled by passion and a sense of purpose. Some of us may be starting at the beginning—we’re just graduating or considering how we want to apply our best energy to meaningful work—or some of us may be starting over completely: we’re taking space between jobs, considering entering the workforce after years of raising children, or making a fresh start after heartbreak or tragedy. Whatever your particular source of tension, there’s hope.

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Follow the Path

One surefire way of identifying our life’s passions is to follow the trail of our experiences. Have you ever thought about the activities you’ve chosen to spend a lot of time doing? Not because of a paycheck, grade, or midyear review—although they may very well have started off as obligations. You do these things because you want to and get to. If you’re trying to figure out your passions and purpose, those places serve as a telling start, because they are the unique pieces of your innate wiring that God uniquely gave to you not just to steward for the sake of the body of Christ, but to enjoy (1 Corinthians 12: 4-7). It’s not a coincidence that you love organizing closets or computer files, that you can’t stop thinking of new ways to equip or share knowledge with kids, or that you have big ideas to start something new: they’re evidence of how God uniquely made you.

One quick way to assess your natural passions is to reflect on three questions:

• Look at how you’ve spent your time over the last month. Outside of any paid work, what do you spend your time doing when you have a moment for yourself?
What were you always drawn to as a kid? The paths starting with our earliest senses of self may hold some clues to what we’d want to spend time doing today.
For whom have you or do you still love doing these things? Because our passions and gifts are for the sake of one another’s good, it also matters toward or for whom they’re directed. If you love teaching, maybe it’s paired with a passion for teenagers navigating early adulthood. If it’s leadership or entrepreneurship, perhaps it’s on behalf of single parents navigating new family realities.

Fan into Flame

The root of the word passion is the Latin passio which means “suffering.” Your passion isn’t just about a hobby—it’s tied to a holy grace, given just to you to gladly endure for the sake of Kingdom good, even when seasons of suffering are involved.

This is precisely why we’re encouraged by Timothy’s words in 2 Timothy 1:6 to “fan into flame the gift of God,” to endure the hardships and setbacks that will surely accompany our passions. The Greek verb tense Paul uses here can refer to an action that is ongoing or habitual: keep fanning it! Fanning isn’t a one-time effort. Fanning is active and continuous—and it might eventually become quite uncomfortable. Fanning requires you to get close to the very fire that could also burn you. It’s uncomfortable enough that we need reminding of why we’re still there. That why must be so compelling that it carries you when you want to quit. Fanning helps you stay faithful. Fanning helps you remember. So, what’s worth your fervent fanning?

Once we get a pulse on what our God-given gifts are, who they’re for, and why we need to earnestly fan those gifts into flame, we may very well find ourselves standing close to the intersection of our life’s passion and purpose. So keep curiously seeking your way toward that crossroads. Our weary world needs the great story of your why, and of the great God who gave it to you.



Ashlee Eiland is a thought leader, writer, Bible teacher who currently serves as vice president of partnerships for The Colossian Forum, a non-profit that works to harness the power of disagreement to restore connection. You can find Ashlee on Instagram @ashlee_eiland, or at Get her new book, Say Good: Speaking Across Hot Topics, Complex Relationships and Tense Situations, today!