A few years ago, I started work on a proposal for a sabbatical grant from the Lilly Endowment. It was quite an effort, taking a team of us more than a year to complete. The key question Lilly wanted to know was, “What makes your heart sing?”
Could you answer that?
Do you really know what makes your heart sing?
Are you sure?
In his wonderful book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, Christian philosophy professor James K.A. Smith says that we are all pursuing a vision of the good life. But most of that vision has been formed in us without our knowing. We’re bombarded every day, all day, by visions of the good life set forth in the culture through marketing, social media, etc. We’ve been conditioned to think, “If I have that…look like that…get that degree…had a partner like him or her,” then I’ll have achieved the good life.
But it never works that way. The moment we achieve “that,” “that” starts to get old.
Smith says to really understand what makes your heart sing, to reach your vision of the good life, you have to retrain your heart. It takes time, practice, repetition, to unlearn what the culture tells us and discover a greater vision.
We were created in and for love by a God of love. What we all really want, whether we know it or not, is to love God and to reflect God’s love to the world.
According to the Gospel of John, when Jesus recruited the first disciples, he didn’t ask them what they believed. He didn’t even say, “Follow me.” He simply asked, “What do you want?”
Of course, they didn’t know.
So he spent three years showing them what truly made their hearts sing.