When I was younger, I always dreamed of writing. I couldn’t deny the desire that I had to put pen to paper. I filled many journals and as my faith grew so did the desire.
Writing isn’t something that I picked. It picked me.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
I can’t take credit for the desire either. It came alive around the same time that my faith awakened. Words became my gift and as my soul reached higher that truth became brighter.
Writing wasn’t like deciding to go to the garden and pick a flower.
Oh, that is pretty. I think I’ll pick that one.
No, the desire was firmly planted within me.
It was gently formed somewhere deep in those dark places where nobody else sees and it germinated, took root, grew and eventually blossomed.
God planted it, he watered it–like the dark earth of the soil that protects a seed or bulb until it’s ready to spring up–he protected the desire to write in me and when the conditions were just right it slowly unearthed. Then he taught me how to nurture and care for my gift.
My very first article submission to a magazine was surprisingly accepted. That had its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage was that it confirmed to me that I was on the right track and writing was my calling.
I began a professional relationship with the editor that liked my writing voice and accepted most of my work. If a piece that I wrote didn’t fit an upcoming publication, he’d make suggestions for revisions and I’d edit it and send it back for his approval.
The disadvantage of that initial accepted article and editorial relationship was that I thought it would always be that easy. It was not.
That editor of that magazine eventually left his position, the magazine took a different direction and I was left writing and submitting to other publications.
Submissions, rejections, more submissions and once in a while an acceptance letter but, for the most part, it became a chore and I lost the spark.
The desire to write evaporated as I became more engrossed in the end result rather than enjoying the process. As a result, for several years, I left the writing scene for other pastures.
In those other pastures, I found good things to do but sometimes good things aren’t always the best.
Something always felt missing and I tried to fill it with other work but, at the same time, I felt a tugging, a nudging, a calling back to where my gift was sown.
During those years in other pastures, I kept my pen and journal by my side. I still jotted down personal entries, ideas and wrote poetry occasionally for a mission’s publications but that was about the extent of my writing.
In those other pastures where I roamed and where I ignored the calling back, I often rationalized it with thoughts like–but I’m not as good as that writer over there. Their gift blooms more spectacular than mine. As I played the comparison game, I stayed stuck right where I was.
Most of us know what comparing ourselves to others will do and you don’t have to be a writer to experience it.
It’s like a thief in the night that digs into the rich soil of our hearts and tries to rip out the seeds that God has planted. Tries is the key word here. It can’t happen unless we allow it.
When we’re too busy examining others’ gifts we neglect our own. Our soil becomes barren.
Even in the darkness when we can’t visualize the flower it is right there beneath the surface ready to bloom like a flower ready to emerge in the springtime.
Once it blooms, we must care for it but we can’t do that when we’re roaming in other fields or pastures that look greener.
Eventually I listened to the voice calling me back and I started writing again–just for the sake of writing. Now I write for an audience of ONE. The ONE who planted the desire in me.
When I started to nurture and care for the gift that I was given instead of comparing my gift to others my passion returned.
It’s not about publication. It’s about doing what I was born to do. There’s joy, freedom and release in that.
Just try to bust yourself gently of the fantasy that publication will heal you, will fill the Swiss cheesy holes. It won’t, it can’t. But writing can. So can singing. Anne Lamott
I love that quote by Anne. I might add–the likes, the comments, the applause, the stats, the followers you receive will never fill those Swiss cheesy holes either. Only God can do that and a beautiful way to find wholeness is by using the gifts you’re designed to use.
Just do it and always remember why you do it.