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You’re only half alive if sex is the only outlet you have for expressing passion. As delicious experiences as romance and lovemaking are, human nature cannot thrive on physical passion alone. The human body is wired so that over time, physical passion wanes and settles into manageable waves. In so doing, you finally get a chance to cultivate more lasting attachments in your life.

Hobbies. Talents. Friendships. Marriage. Spiritual life. Lasting passions derive from the heart and spill over into your overall attitude about life in general. Passion has to do with the joy you invest in living life–despite daily dosages of disappointments–to its fullest.

It took me a lifetime to understand the words to a song I grew up hearing in the African-American Church, “This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away” says the old gospel hymn.

It took me even longer to figure out that when the elders of my church talked about joy, they were talking about a passion and determination to live despite the odds that were stacked against them. I didn’t know enough about disappointment and misery back then to appreciate the joy they were talking about. Neither did I know enough about the inner well-being that comes with knowing that it is nothing but the love and dignity of God dwelling within that helps you survive life’s disappointments with wholeness and joy. Those old people were well aware that God was the source of all true passion and joy. David the psalmist put it this way, “The joy [read “passion”] of the Lord is my strength.”

What experiences have you over the past year that left you with a deep and abiding sense of joy? What was it about those experiences that tapped something deep within you?

–Renita Weems

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