Surrendering to the Call

The post below was written almost four years ago, when I was struggling with this question. I was pleased to see that I no longer struggle with it. In fact, after a full surrender, things shifted for me in a wonderful way. Not only do I have as many contracts as I can handle, I’m having a chance to write the kind of books I have always loved to read. What made the difference in four years? Read below, and you’ll see…

Do you believe you are called to write? Or do you suspect you are?

If that’s true, why aren’t you pursuing your calling?

Food for Thought

This weekend I started reading Callings by Gregg Levoy, the author of a very practical book for writers called This Business of Writing. In Callings, he said some thought-provoking things that gave me pause.

I started writing thirty years ago, and until six months ago, there were many reasons why I couldn’t give my all-out devotion to writing: a full-time day job of teaching, raising four children, multiple jobs in the church and community, serious health problems and surgeries, etc. But last fall I retired from teaching, my children are grown, and I can decide how much I babysit grandchildren and how much volunteer work I do. It’s a time I’ve been anticipating for three decades.

So…am I pursuing my writer’s calling with full devotion? I want to. I dream about it. I can almost taste it sometimes. But do I do it? No.

Why?

I’m not sure, but these quotes from Callings are helping me ask the right questions. Maybe these ideas will help you too.

  • “Although we have the choice not to follow  a call, if we do not do so,..we’ll feel alienated from ourselves, listless and frustrated, and fitful with boredom, the common  cold of the soul. Life will feel so penetratingly dull and pointless that we may become angry, and turn the anger inward against ourselves (one definition of depression).”
  • “Generally, people won’t pursue their callings until the fear of doing so is finally exceeded by the pain of not doing so.”
  • “Perhaps the main reason that we ignore calls is that we instinctively know the price they’ll exact.”
  • “All calls lead to some sacrifice because even just one choice closes the door on another, and some calls lead to much sacrifice, which may feel anything but blissful.”
  • “At some level we need to devote everything, our whole selves. A part-time effort, a sorta-kinda commitment, an untested promise, won’t  suffice. You must know that you mean business, that you’re going to jump into it up to your eye sockets and not turn back at the last minute.”

Will the Rubber Meet the Road Now?

I’ve had thirty years of (by necessity) a “part-time effort” and “an untested promise.” Now that I have the time and could choose to do so, will I “jump into it up to [my] eye sockets”?

Is the pain of not doing so finally more than the fear of trying? Yes, I think so.

How about you?

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10 Responses to Surrendering to the Call

  1. Linda says:

    Hi Kristi,
    I really enjoy your blog. It is a great comfort to me, and I learn a lot from it. I wanted to read “What Am I Called to Write” as I am really struggling to figure that out, but when I clicked on the link, it said it was not available. Is there any way you can redirect me so I can read it?
    Thanks so much for the work you do!
    Linda

    • kwpadmin says:

      I was surprised it didn’t work too, and then I realized that ICL took down their blog where the old posts used to “live.” They said they were getting a lot of spam since I moved the blog to my website. I will have to see if I can find that article in archives. I probably have it somewhere. In the meantime, I will fix that link and take it out. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. Doug Shearer says:

    Kristi:

    In 2014 I wrote, edited and submitted 12 new short stories, and completed NaNoWriMo. In the six years I’ve been writing and submitting, my rejections were at nearly 100 with only one published, and that was in non-fiction. I needed a break and decided to take December off. While I was writing the novel in November I had all sorts of short story ideas I ignored, but putting away my keyboard and pen for the month of December left me feeling empty, with no new ideas half way through the month. I thought it could be the end. Then on Dec. 19th I found out my first fiction would be published…great news, but the ideas still were not coming. On December 30th, and idea came and then another and another. I was published in fiction for the first time on Jan.1, 2015 a week later I found out another of my stories had gone to final reading. I’m writing more now than I ever have, and there is nothing else I want to do. I turn off the TV and go into my closet to write. I guess I’ve surrendered to the call.

    Kristi, I think you said I might take a break, but that writing was in my blood. You were right.
    Doug

  3. Thanks, Kristi, for this article. I crave to write, and due to severe illness, surgery, and three hospitalizations, I could not continue the thinking and work it takes to create a good product. In between the first hospital visit and surgery, I lost my mother. By the end of that week, I lost my 15 year-old dog, Nestley. Yet, all the while the desire to write nagged at me, and I felt guilty for not being able to pursue writing as I needed to do. But, the Lord, Who is faithful and good, strengthened me in body, soul, and mind. Therefore, my second book is now out, and the third one is ready for printing! 1 Corinthians 10:13 came alive for me as He guided me with His timing to fulfill what He called me to accomplish for Him. Thanks, Kristi, for the timing of this article. It encouraged me greatly!

    • kwpadmin says:

      Mary, how good to hear from you! My goodness, but what a series of trials and challenges you have had in your life recently! We love to be overcomers, but what a lot to overcome! You have obviously grown in your faith throughout. You are definitely relying on God to accomplish the work He’s given you to do. :-)

  4. Krista Harrington says:

    Hi Kristi!
    Wow, I’m so tickled to find this blog. Years ago, when I was first married, I took the writing course through the Institute, and remember seeing your name as a writing instructor there.
    This article really resonates with me. I am a wife,mother of two boys, 7 and 3, and a very part-time hair stylist. However, writing has always been on my brain for some reason. I know it’s a God thing:) Since before marriage, I’ve kept journals of ideas for children’s stories, yet finding time to write these stories isn’t easy. Some are written, yet remain in the computer. Do you think perhaps the years when your children are small are the foundational years for creating children’s stories? I don’t know. It’s a struggle for me, and I’m sure many moms, who have this inner desire to write, yet getting the quiet time to do so is next to impossible,when your only computer is in the living room, and in the middle of an indoor baseball game:) Thanks for the insight!

    • kwpadmin says:

      Krista, I remember! I think that’s why I held on so tightly to nap time until the kids went to kindergarten. Even when they got past the age of falling asleep, they all went to bed with books at 1:00 and stayed in there till 2:00. It was an inflexible rule because that was my one hour daily of guaranteed writing time. Occasionally I could grab ten minutes here or there when they’d all be busy, but with four of them, it didn’t happen often. So that “rest and reading” hour was sacrosanct in our house! Interestingly, all my grandkids have the same rule at home and are good readers. We all read in bed at night too.

      But yes, those were definitely foundational years. When you learn to make time to write when you have little ones, you’ll be able to write later, any time and any place!

  5. Cathy & Tom says:

    Hi . I am recently retired…prefer new season! Going thru old files I found a letter about renewing my efforts to go thru the writing institute’s classes 24 years ago. My dad had died And had to drop out. Forward to today and several encouragements to write…think I am ready to pursue that endeavor. Thank you for your Surrendering to the Call!

    • kwpadmin says:

      What an encouraging note! Despite having to give up the writing classes years ago, you’ve gained a LOT of life experience in the meantime which will enrich your writing. Welcome to this new season, and how wonderful that it now includes writing. :-)

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