I quit writing about four times a year. Especially, when I look at the ages of my children, at the dust on our bookshelves, at the number of digits on our bank statement, and at my neighbors’ needs. It’s easy to think about how other people go hiking and watch TV shows. How they answer occupational questions easily. They enjoy regular paychecks. I wonder if I’ve confused enjoyment with calling, if fingers-tapping-keys is, for me, an avocation rather than an occupation.
It happened again yesterday. Funny, it doesn’t happen in the middle of hectic times. It happens when all is quiet. Quiet but desperate.
- financial security
- earthly order through a clean house or an easy schedule
- recognition—if not in the writing community then somewhere else.
Desperate for all sorts of things…except God.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
-Psalm 63:1-2 NIV
One way or another, God highlights my derailed desperation in those times. Maybe it’s an encouraging comment on my blog, maybe it’s a pep-talk from my husband. Sometimes I read a verse like the one above. But often, it’s a scheduled writing time (that I don’t ignore).
Out of habit, obligation, pre-existing commitment…I don’t know why, but I sit down again. And here, in front of my computer, I meet God again.
I like a good praise chorus as much as anyone, but this—the fingers-tapping-keys—is where I worship most fully. With my Bible open on my left, I again read a section that’s been on my mind. I immerse myself in the Word then I put my words on the page in response; that’s worship.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. -Psalm 63:3
Maybe the writer’s version would say, “Because your love is better than life, my written words will glorify you.”
If you think you might quit tomorrow…first, know you’re not alone. Then, try these two things before you close that laptop for good.
- Work toward worship. Dig into Scripture (Psalm 63 is a great place to start.) or turn on your favorite music. Read some poetry or go for a walk. Do whatever it takes for you, with your unique personality, to reconnect with the God Who called you to this work.
Worship is your truest work, what you were created to do. Worship is no avocation. Worship is the ultimate vocation of every Christ-follower.
- Reconnect with your calling. Sit down at the computer anyway. We are, after all, creatures of habit, and sometimes all it takes is the resumption of the habit. When I haven’t written anything in a couple of days, I begin to forget what it feels like, how it fuels me. If merely writing isn’t enough, put aside your current project and write the kind of piece that first drew you to writing.
I hadn’t ridden a bicycle in fourteen years when our family decided to ride the Creeper Trail near Abington, Virginia. I felt awkward trying out bikes in the rental shop, but when we strapped on our helmets and mounted those bikes at the top of the mountain, all the experience of riding flooded back into my hands and feet as well as my mind. I made the eleven-mile descent without wrecking once.
So sit back down at your computer. Write what you love to write even though you have no place to publish it. Let the experience flood back into your extremities and feel the exhilaration of doing something you were made to do! (Not that I was made to mountain bike. My analogy doesn’t go that far.)
When you lean into your calling, you’re practicing another kind of worship.
In those times when I feel desperate, I realize I’ve drifted away from mindful worship in the everyday rhythms of life, and it affects my writing more than anything else. Before I can face that looming deadline, I must face my Savior in worship. Only then does the commitment to writing return, and I know I won’t quit.
At least not today.
Carole Sparks doesn’t spend as much time writing (or worshipping) as she would like. There’s this thing called “the rest of life”…maybe you know what she means. Still, you can catch up with her most days on Twitter or her blog.