Last session we discussed how important it is for creators and dreamers to keep their enthusiasm. We defined enthusiasm as the excitement, energy and renewed interest we experience from a divinely-inspired flow of brilliance, creativity, or timely ideas. Nothing great was ever accomplished without the motivating force of enthusiasm.
To be enthusiastic is to be full of life (and God). But where does enthusiasm come from? Well, where does life come from? Answer: the Creator of the Universe.
Everyone is born with enthusiasm. God builds this motivating force into each of us. That’s why children are so curious, and seem to be endlessly fascinated by the simplest things in life; the whole world is fresh and new, and kids are excited to explore its many wonders.
Unfortunately, as we age we tend to view life as old and familiar territory. We become too sophisticated and cynical to appreciate the beauty of the world and the joy of life. Our viewpoint narrows, our possibilities become more limited, and worst of all, we lose our God-given enthusiasm.
No wonder people give up on their dreams! Aldous Huxley wrote, “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.”
The good news is that we can reclaim our enthusiasm — if we’re willing to reclaim the positive, appreciative, hopeful, and trusting attitude of childhood. In fact, God wants us to do just that: Jesus said, “…Unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as [a] little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 18:3 PHILLIPS)
How do kids keep such a good attitude? Hint: have you ever noticed how loving and affectionate children can be? That’s because kids are brimming over with LOVE. So, if you want to rekindle your enthusiasm, then cultivate love. Love people, love life, love beauty, love the animals of the earth and the birds in the sky under which you move and breathe and have your being. Above all, love God. The person who loves God, life and people cannot help but be full of joy, curiosity and excitement for each new day. Such a man or woman sparkles on the outside because their love (the essence of God) is glowing on the inside; they bubble over with enthusiasm, too!
And to further clarify matters, being enthusiastic is being fully alive. It’s knowing that “the joy of the Lord is your strength and your stronghold.” (Nehemiah 8:10 AMP) Being enthusiastic is being grateful for each new day. It’s never losing that wide-eyed sense of wonder and excitement for the world God created; or that child-like faith that still believes miracles happen everyday.
Another word associated with enthusiasm is passion:
- Intense excitement or drive
- Extreme and compelling emotion
- Strong love or affection; fervor or ardor
- Eagerness in the pursuit of an objective
- Great devotion or commitment (to an activity, a cause or a dream)
Today passion and enthusiasm are often used interchangeably. If we want to be enthusiastic about something, we need to be passionate about it. Oprah Winfrey once stated, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” So, what are you passionate about?
Are you passionate about your dreams? Passion can keep you on track. Passion keeps you going when the road gets bumpy. Passion helps you make it all the way to the finish. And if you’re NOT passionate about something, is it really worth pursuing? For the long haul? If you believe it is, then get passionate about it. Otherwise, discover your passion in life, and start pursuing that instead.
Got dreams? Need motivation? Return to the wonders of childhood. Fill your life with love. (In other words, BE loving.) Henry David Thoreau, another great poet, once observed, “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” In this case, however, “old” has nothing to do with age; it’s a state of mind. We’ve seen twenty-year-olds who are “dying,” and sixty-plus people who are full of life — still grateful, still amazed at God’s goodness, still dreaming, and still enthusiastic.
By the way, we’re never too old (or too young) to dream. In fact, God has promised us, “…I will pour out my Spirit upon all of you! [That’s inspiration, folks.] …Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions.” (Joel 2:28 TLB)
And enthusiasm is also ageless. “It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.” (Oliver Wendall Holmes, Sr., Physician, author and lecturer, 1809-1894)
And remember these motivators: Inspiration (a life directed by God) + Passion (a God-given dream) = Enthusiasm (full of God, Love, and a zest for life). The American poet and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
However, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale states it best: “…One of the greatest human needs of our time is a weapon to fight mediocrity, one that will teach us how to make use of zest and vitality and the creative forces buried deep within us. What we so desperately need is the capacity for exercising enthusiasm. …For I truly believe that enthusiasm makes the difference between success and failure.” (Enthusiasm Makes the Difference, 2003; p. 2)