That said, I also believe there is such a thing as divine discontent. It’s akin to the stirring of the nest when it’s time for baby birds to leave their comfort zone and fly.
Spinning Your Wheels
This divine discontent is a longing for something different. You may feel stuck in a job that saps so much energy that you don’t have any left over for your writing. You may have climbed to the top of the corporate ladder and found it less satisfying than you’d expected. Your kids may finally be in school all day, but your days are crammed with things that don’t fulfill you.
This restless discontent can be a sign that you’re being called to something else. If you’re reading this blog, perhaps it’s a career in writing.
Signposts Along the Way
According to The Practical Dreamer’s Handbook: Finding the Time, Money, and Energy to Live Your Dreams by Paul and Sarah Edwards, there are sixteen signs to look for that might mean something is missing in your life–and something new is waiting to be born. The signs include:
- Not wanting to get out of bed
- Feeling mildly depressed for days on end
- Difficulty motivating yourself to do routine tasks
- Overeating, using alcohol, drugs, or TV to feel better or escape
- Losing interest in things that once engaged you
- Feeling chronically tired, de-energized, and listless
- Nagging doubts about yourself and the course of your life
- Losing a sense of enthusiasm
- Worrying about how you’ll keep things together
- Getting frequent headaches, stomach upset, and other aches and pains
- Feeling bored and restless
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Wishing you were someone else
- Nagging and complaining
- Having frequently bad dreams or nightmares
- Feeling constantly overwhelmed and irritable
What if you identify with these signs of discontent with your life? Could this restless sense of “I need something more” be a calling to do something else? Something besides what “everyone” thinks you should do?
Behind the Stories: Christian Novelists Reveal the Heart in the Art of Their Writing (by Diane Eble) is forty stories by novelists telling how they found their way to writing–and the winding paths they sometimes traveled before they could write full-time.
One novelist, Alton Gansky, summed up “divine discontent” well:
“Perhaps this is the hallmark of a calling: this sense that you are meant to do something, the restlessness that comes when you don’t do it, the deep satisfaction you feel when you do it–whatever “it” is.
How do you find “it”? Ask yourself, “What is it I have loved doing, what has given me that sense of satisfaction? What would I do if I had two days to do whatever I wanted? What do I tend to gravitate toward and make time for? What do I feel passionate about? What have I always dreamed of doing?” These questions may begin to uncover that thing you do, or would like to do, that is your gift and perhaps your calling.
How about you? Does any of this resonate with you at this point of your life? Do you sense a need for change of direction (either major or minor)? I know that’s a really personal question, but do share a comment if you can! [And if part of the problem is setting boundaries with other people so you can carve out time to write, see my Boundaries for Writers e-book.]