Lose The Intensity

This past weekend, while in North Carolina visiting Jason’s mom, we had the opportunity to go to a church service with her. She goes to a beautiful Episcopal church. I’ve only ever been to Episcopal weddings and a few funerals… never an actual church service.

I know enough about the Episcopal tradition to know that Jason and I really like a Methodist church that has a touch of Episcopal in it. The last two churches we’ve attended (Mulberry UMC in Macon and Dunwoody Methodist) have felt like this to us, only without all that kneeling and standing.

The priest of the church didn’t do the sermon on Sunday, another priest from the Archdiocese did. And it was great. I even took notes.

The very first thing he said was this:

Keep the passion.

Lose the intensity.

I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear those 6 words. The message was about how we should live into our passions and let go of what is in our way.

What is usually in our way? Ourselves.

I started spacing out during the service, listening and formulating my own thoughts in my head. Probably not the best way to take in a sermon, but it’s how my brain works. I had heard the 6 words that I needed that day.

Those words can apply to so many areas of life. For me, right now, it confirms what I already know but was letting my brain get in the way of realizing.

I get far too intense about things — everything.

I can’t knit because I’m too intense and the rows are too tight and I can’t start a new row.

I can’t volunteer to do something every month, I have to volunteer to do it every week.

When I jump into something with such intensity AND passion, the intensity eventually overtakes the love of what I do. I have to do more! more! MORE! and eventually I get burned out. Or hurt. Or too overwhelmed with life in general that I can’t do it anymore.

This isn’t how I want to be.

The priest made me think back to my new motto. Remember it? In my mind (probably not in the priest’s mind) these things are related.

I think we all need to live life with passion AND intensity. But in an equal balance. When one gets bigger than the other, it gets in our way.

I want to get to a place, and you probably do, too, where you can do the things you’re passionate about with a not-so-intense intensity that is sustainable. Because if you’re passionate about something, there has to be a level of intensity involved, but when we allow it to become dangerously intense, it becomes toxic.

But in this world of instant gratification and short attention spans, intensity is expected. You have to be super intense about EVERYTHING to get any point across. Extreme. Intense. Over the top.

I don’t want to be extreme. I don’t want to be so intense. I want to LIVE INTO MY PASSIONS.

I want to lose the extreme intensity and return to a normal level where I can live into my passions.

I’d be willing to bet you do, too.