Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are You Really Called to Write?

I am living the nightmare that every writer fears. My computer crashed several times and it is now totally swiped. I'm attempting to recover the lost files from here and there, and in that process, I've actually run across manuscripts I wrote in the past years and had abandoned. It is amazing to see the writer I was as compared to the writer I am today. And for a couple of the manuscripts, I'm wondering why I abandoned them. 

During this process, sometimes you will revisit your first inclinations to write, like me. Why did I ever start this process? When did it actually come together? Is it worth it to recover all those files? 

As a Christian I have one more  place to visit--did I actually get called to write? A flicker of self-doubt creases my brow as I attempt to reconnect my back up system for the third time in order to retrieve my massive files. Is it worth it? Have I missed another calling because of pursuing this? Did I get on the wrong boat and now I'm in the belly of the fish???

Am I really a writer?
New writers, and sometimes old writers, might visit this question while chalking up rejection slips or any number of setbacks. But it is an essential question for a Christian. We want to discern God’s calling for us, even if it is not writing. But what if God did call you to write? Or what if He really didn't?

There are many questions we ponder and pray about each time we feel “called” to a ministry (and your callings may be different than another's so don't go comparing yourself.) First of all, we know that all Christians are called to basic things as we live the life of a Christian. If you are a Christian, this isn't something new to you. But can you remember how you were called to write? Or is it hazy?

More than likely, your call to write was a bit like mine, a nagging tug, like a kid who wants a drink of water, a gentle whisper in my ear, "Crystal, Crystal, come here" when I was doing something else like peacefully sleeping in the night. But I thought I wanted the blazing angel messenger, urgently knocking at the door. He’d say,  “Crystal, God’s calling you to write, right now! Get to it because an agent, a big editor and a TV show is calling next.” (That wasn't my call.)

Or maybe, like me, you thought a billboard along the highway would blast a blatant message saying, “Write on, and I’ll bless your socks off, Crystal!” 

Everyone has a different way of discovering that call to write, just as each of us came to Christ on various paths with different experiences. Just look at examples of callings laid out in the Bible. Do you find any similarities in your calling to write to these Biblical examples? 

Let's look at how God called these people to do something for Him.  See if you recognize yourself in any of them and maybe you’ll find that you were called to write in a way you did not see before.

Samuel: Samuel got his call in the night as a little boy while living in the temple. God spoke directly to him, but he didn't realize it was God until he was told to just answer God. He carried through his calling to a ripe old age and even got called back from the dead by a king who did not carry out his own calling. 

Moses: God called Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed. What a story he had to tell! Dramatic, but during the call he doubted his abilities and ended up getting his brother called in on it too. Once he realized that God meant business, he became a mighty man of God. 

Gideon: Gideon had to throw down some fleece and needed signs and wonders from God to see his calling. 

Jonah: Jonah really didn't think God had it right when He called him to head to Ninevah. When Jonah thought he'd hid out well enough, that's when things got rough. Next thing Jonah knew, he thought he was dead in the water--albeit in the belly of a fish--but God delivered him to the shore to get on with what He told him to do. He kept some of his prejudices, but he ended up being used anyway. And he did end up in the right place.

Saul/Paul: Paul was struck down on the road to Damascus, was blinded, and Jesus asked him why he was persecuting Him (I bet he thought for just a second, "What are you doing to me?!") You definitely do not want to be on the wrong road, doing the wrong thing when God tracks you down like Paul. 

Timothy: Timothy was mentored by Paul and thought he'd just coast along on Paul's coattails but God (and Paul) knew Timothy had things of his own to accomplish. While he started off as Timid Timothy, he soon gathered confidence of his own in God's power and was able to even to minister to Paul when he was imprisoned. 

You may have your own comparison to make to a famous calling, but in the end each person's call is his own. God sees you and you alone when He makes His call to you. Listen carefully, because if God is calling you to write, then focus and don't be caught on the wrong road, on a ship headed the wrong way or doubting what you can do when God is behind you. (And God never said it would be easy, just because He's behind you.)

Can you relate to any of these callings? :)

Crystal Laine Miller


  1. Good blog.

    I'd like to add Nehemiah's call on the list. He was just doing his job when first his brother presented the need, and after months of prayer the king noticed Nehemiah's sadness.

    One other thing I'll mention that Terry Burns commented on in a ACFW course and that I noticed years ago with Christian music. There are times our writing is a call, and other times it's an offering to God. God can use either. But the first is God's leading in our life and the other is our love for God.

    Burns also mentioned the call may not be to write but to write a specific book. He mentioned one of his novels had God's call on it. In my case, I feel a call on one of my novels, the one that almost got self-published (until the company went belly up on the front page of the Star and in news stories on the local TV stations) and that I had finished and had put on the shelf while working on two others. I'm back at that novel, with the two others now occupying the shelf.

    Thanks, Crystal, and have a blessed day.

  2. We could just fill books about this, couldn't we, Jeff? I've had classes/read books on those things, too, and I love all that you've added here and about what Terry Burns also had to say.

    And Nehemiah is another good one--in fact, that's one of my favorites too. Such great verses--"Now strengthen my hands..." :)

    I've left out many others--Esther, for one. (I didn't mention one woman, and there are many!)

    I truly love this topic. It would be a fun Bible study.

  3. Thank you for sharing. Very encouraging today.

    1. YIKES, Crystal, so sorry about your computer "crash" or whatever, but you sure shared an inspiring blog from it! Hope you find all your writing, one way or another (I HATE losing writing). . . and that more "lemonade will come from your lemons". . . :-)

    2. It's coming together, though slowly. And I've gone from Vista to Windows 7 and that seems to be ok. Thank you! I love lemonade! :)

  4. thanks Crystal. great post to ponder.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Anne! :)

  5. I'm of the opinion that God is not going to mind you getting out of the boat and trying. It's better than staying in the boat and not trying at all. So what if you miss God? You think He's going to hit you over the head and say, "Dummy! Who do you think you are?" No! He's going to reach out His hand and help you. He's with you no matter where you go--even if it's on a rabbit trail. I want to be someone who gets out of the boat, not one that's too afraid to try. Sometimes we just make it way too hard.