Saturday, January 6, 2007

Called to Write

Ah, I hadn’t really wanted to open up this can of worms, but since my friend, Heather, did, and I decided my response was too long for a blog comment, I decided to post here.

First of all, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this question. I don’t think all writers are “called” to write. I think you absolutely can be gifted and successful as a writer without it. I don’t think you have to be called to write to do it to the glory of God.

But I know without a shadow of a doubt I was called to write. I can remember the specific moment, the almost audible voice of God telling me to step out in faith and write. And I said no. For six years.

I’ve heard that voice of God in my heart each time He’s asked me to step out in faith. But the only time in my life He’s ever “called” me to something was to write. He didn’t call me to marry my husband, or give birth to my kids, or to be a stay-at-home mom, although I’ve done all those things with His favor and blessings, and I believe they were in His will for me.

One thing that I can compare it to in my life is singing. I love to sing. God’s given me some measure of talent and opened the doors to allow me to use this gift in ministry. And I love doing it. But it’s not the same as my calling to write. I can’t explain it other than that. It’s just different.

For me, the calling to write is to sit my butt in the chair. That’s basically it. The rest, like publication and success, is in His hands. And I also feel that if I’m not faithful to keep my butt in that chair I’m being disobedient.

But I would emphasize most of all, that all of this is very personal. My experience doesn’t mean it’s true for anyone else. Or should be. It’s just what God has told me to do.

Can people be called to other things, like plumbing? Sure. Why not? Does everyone have to be “called” to something? I don’t know. Maybe not. I think part of the difficulty is that calling and will and purpose are all interrelated but not the same things. While I don’t have the brain power right now to tease apart separate definitions, I think that may be one place to begin a discussion on this subject.


  1. When Solomon set out to build the temple, there are several examples of people God gifted and called to use their craft to get the temple built. God doesn't change. Why would he call someone who could work with metal or wood for his purpose and not call someone who could work with words for His purpose?

    I understand God does not deal with every person the same. I am totally comfortable with God handling me one way and someone else another way. Frankly, I wouldn't want it any other way. I was called to write in a way that God made sure I understood, in no uncertain terms, that I was to write.

    I love my family and friends dearly, but to me, when it comes to something like this, it doesn't matter whether anyone believes me or not. I have nothing to prove. I am not trying to win the approval of man--sometimes that's a hard one to live by, but I can't let what other people think get in between God and I.

  2. To me, the big point is God--it's all about Him. Whether He says "This is what I want you to do (or say or write)" or if He puts desires in your heart and says "yes, my child, you may do that," it has to be about Him first. He gives the desires or puts you in a situation saying "write this" as He leads and guides your life.

    I think of the mother of John Wesley who prayed every day--cut out a major point of her day inspite of her many children and just tossed her apron over her head as a signal that this was a private time between her and God--and yet, she didn't write anything earth-shattering but an example on the hearts of her children. She put God first and her sons were called into world-changing ministry. God called to her each day and she went to Him. Who knows but that which God places on our hearts to write is to inspire someone else to a calling. Or maybe it is to set the example of obedience for our children and grandchildren.

    The old story about the man told to push against the rock falls into this category. God called him to push and he did for years but the rock never moved. Finally in frustration, the man stops and thinks he either heard wrong or God was playing a cruel trick. Then God reminds the man, "I didn't call you to move the rock, only to push it. Now you are strong and ready for the next part." And together they moved the rock.

    A calling or a desire to write is just that. When God is in it, you can trust He has a plan though it may not have anything to do with publication (I'm choking on my words here so this part must be for me). In the end, He is God, I am not and it's all about Him. And honestly, that's a relief--whew!

  3. Thanks for sharing your personal experience. I love hearing how and why people do what they do, especially when it reflects God's glory.
    I stirred up this can of worms simply to evaluate a phrase that is common in our lingo. And I've loved the responses I've gotten, including this one.
    In my case, my husband told me for about a year before I thought about doing this "professionally" that I needed to do more with my writing besides my journal. I think God used him to direct my path.
    Mich - I agree! While a part of our Christian heritage is this community that guides us and loves us and encourages us (and sometimes hurts us), we are ultimately answerable to God with how we use what He gives us.

  4. Thanks for commenting, guys, um, gals. I think it's great that we can discuss these things from different point of view and maybe come to a greater understanding of how God works differently with each of us.

  5. Enjoyed your thoughts on this subject.

  6. I hadn't thought about how to differentiate between God's calling, will, and purpose. I suppose there is a difference, but I can't put my finger on it. Hmm. All I know is that I love to write, and I THOUGHT I was called.

    Good thought starter.