For far too long, I have been hiding something. I’ve wanted to share it with you and talk about it, but it’s never been the right moment. Besides, I’ve been swamped. It’s still there though, I have it right here in my heart. It has been waiting to come out and feel the warmth of your embrace. Before I tell you what it is, I need to explain why I have kept it hidden.
Honestly, I’m afraid—of a lot of things. Here’s a short list—maybe you can relate with some of these fears:
- What people will say
- What people won’t say
- What people will think
- I don’t have the time
- It’s not the right time
- It won’t be perfect
- It won’t even be good
- I’ll lose some friends
- I’ll be lonely
- Something else has to go
I allow these fears to control my actions. I orient my schedule and activity around them because I’ve trained myself to feel most comfortable when I am controlled by them. Really though, it’s not comfortable at all. It’s like wearing an itchy wool sweater that is far too small and is unraveling in multiple places. I am bursting at the seams, my neck itches, and I’m constantly pulling the hem down where it shrunk in the wash. It doesn’t fit anymore—maybe it never did. I wear it often though. What color is yours?
So what on earth am I hiding? This statement: I am a writer and I have a message for you. There, I said it. Yes, you already knew that—I mean you’re here, right? This is my blog and you are reading it. Mission accomplished right? Wrong. Sometimes the idea that I’m a writer feels too heavy. Sometimes God gives me a message and I don’t want to write it down. I want to, but I don’t want to for all the reasons I shared earlier. Sometimes, it’s easier not to talk about it. But the reality is when I try to avoid it, I can’t stop thinking about it.
Here is the truth: I love to assign words to the life happening around me. I delight in turning a phrase in such a way that you might think a new thought. It gives me joy to share my experiences in a way that it validates someone else’s life. I have a passion for using words to point others in the direction of the one who gave me this gift. I know God has given me a heart to lead people to Him by way of words. Writing is an act of worship in my life and it allows me to extend the love of God to my neighbor—to you. These words are true in my life and I firmly believe they are true in everyone’s life—maybe just substitute the word “writer” for whatever it is for you.
I believe those words, but isn’t it amazing that my mind always immediately goes to the fears? Do you do that as well? When we believe God is calling us to do something, say something, or go somewhere, why do we always grab our itchy wool sweaters of doubt and fear desperately looking for all the reasons we should stay put, keep quiet, or sit on our hands?
Why don’t we ditch the itch and reach for the soft 100% cotton tee which allows us to breathe and move? Maybe there are a couple of reasons.
Perhaps we aren’t certain God is calling us to this thing. It’s an important and valid question. Discerning whether we are truly meant for a specific purpose is an important step we must take. Do we have the necessary skills, training, or experience and if not, are we willing and able to work for it? Are we passionate about this thing or do we feel momentarily inspired? It’s perfectly okay to ask God, and others, these questions. Discernment is an important step in the process of pursuing a call.
Perhaps we aren’t certain God is calling us to this thing. It’s okay to wonder whether or not this is the thing God is calling you to right now. God might call us to several things over the course of our lives and many opportunities vie for our attention. Just because an opportunity presents itself doesn’t mean it’s meant for us. It is wise to take these thoughts to God in prayer and ask for confirmation, clarity, and courage.
Perhaps we aren’t certain God is calling us to this thing. There is also the question of whether something is actually from God or whether it’s simply something we want. I’m not talking about our day-in day-out actions and decisions, though it is a good practice to allow God’s very real presence in our day-in day-out lives to guide us in those decisions. I’m talking about the big things—those things that make us instinctively reach for the itchy wool sweater, make us pit-out, and make us want to throw up. “God, is this you?” is a perfectly acceptable question. Sometimes God will answer us directly and other times God will use the wisdom of those He has placed around us. One helpful question I regularly ask is this: Do I want this for you or for me?
So here’s an example from my life right now. I know God has called me to write. In fact, I believe this so strongly that I have paid real money to invest in my training (Hope*Writers), in a platform (WordPress), and in aesthetics (Cathartic Word). I know God has given me a fire in my bones to share His message of “freedom from and freedom to” with all of you. But dang it, I am just not prioritizing it as much as I’d like. I avoid it. I fill my schedule with other things, I scroll social media, I make lots of excuses.
I regularly go to my closet, pull out the itchy wool sweater, and begrudgingly pull it over my head, knowing I’m going to feel miserable, uncomfortable, and unfulfilled. So today, I pulled out the scissors and cut the sweater in two, pulled out my laptop, and wrote this post. I wanted to share with you that you aren’t alone in your struggle to embrace the call upon your life. It’s as much a part of human nature to resist as it is to pursue. God created us and knows this about us; God also desires to walk with us in the struggle. He doesn’t call us to something and leave us alone to figure stuff out—God is there with us lending us His own strength.
I believe that God has given us each (you and me) gifts and talents meant to be used in worshipping God and loving our neighbor. Additionally, I believe he has uniquely called us to something (maybe even a few somethings) and no one else will be able to do it just the way we (you and I) can.
It’s not too late.
You’re not too old.
You are enough.
God has given you all you need.
It’s okay to be a beginner.
It’s perfectly alright to learn as you go.
More importantly, you don’t need to wait for someone else to give you permission to do the thing that God has called you to, equipped you for, and prepared for you to do in advance. Get after it—like right now. You are free to do what you have been called to do and nothing should keep you from pursuing whatever that is so long as you sense the presence and leading of God and doing so is an act of worship. Here are your scissors.
Friends, my blog isn’t necessarily for everyone. We’ve gotten to know one another and our hearts and minds engage and connect around similar ideas. I feel like I know you well. This is one of those unique messages with a universal truth that everyone should hear. So friends, thank you for reading and if you know someone else who would benefit from the freedom this message is designed to offer, please share it with them. Their life could be dramatically transformed by it—not by anything I’ve said, but by the power of the Holy Spirit who offers us freedom from waiting for the perfect scenario, the perfect timing, the perfect level of support, or the perfect anything. May the Holy Spirit grant us freedom from those things and give us freedom to pursue what God has perfectly equipped us to do by God’s strength.