Unidentified Calling

How many times have I told you God? I’m not cut out for  this! It almost feels like you’re that parent with pie-in-the-sky dreams for his kid, ambitions for Jonny to be a star baseball player when all Jonny wants to do is learn the guitar. 

I am a self-aware people pleaser. I’m not an entrepreneur or a risk taker in any capacity. I don’t like failure or rejection and I can’t handle large uninsured investments of my time, money or emotional energy. Yet, here I am, holding the second rejection of my manuscript in as many days. What makes you think I’m supposed to be a writer? 

If I didn’t know myself so well, I’d assume that I’m just fool hardy, a glutton for punishment, cocky and pretentious to think I have a story to tell and a ministry to fulfill through the written word. But I know I heard you. I know you put me up to this. 

Just the other day, I was thanking you for finally revealing “my calling”. But now, as I evaluate the outcome of my obedience, I think you’ve got me all wrong. It’s so hard, Lord! I really don’t want to sit in this uncomfortable space of waiting for and listening to you, of pressing on and stepping out in faith again and again. Can’t I just do something cut and dry, trudge along in a rut carved by some previous, daring saint? Is there just a “good Christian” to-do list I can follow?

I prayed this prayer under my breath, not too sure that I want God to hear me. I mean, I don’t want Him to give up on me, to relinquish His great plans for me, but I’m so tired of living in limbo. It feels like none of my projects find any closure. I’m still waiting for feedback from publishers, waiting for the answer to prayers about our family’s future, waiting for that phone call to be returned, waiting for the support group I lead to grow, waiting for the magazine editor’s response, waiting for some affirmation that my life is bearing any fruit for my Father, that I’m on the right path, that I’m doing something right!


Except for this uncanny pressure, like His thumb between my shoulder blades gently propping me up and pressing me forward, I wonder if God really doesn’t hear my whispered prayer. He’s been mysteriously quiet today. But He didn’t chide me for my fears or mock my frustration. He only lay upon my heart one thing: “[Do not] get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time [you] will reap a harvest of blessing if [you] don’t give up.”*

I’m pressing on.

I am blessed to work with, write for and count as friends, dozens of other authors. So, I take great comfort in their humble stories of rejection letters and their gutsy determination to press on.

Here are a few links that have bolstered my spirit:

Chad Allen, by means of Mary Demuth and her humble honesty about failure even after you’ve “made it”. Here’s a priceless one, a cup of tea for the weary creative’s soul. I shared it once before and I’ve Pinned it so I can find it over and over, but just so you don’t miss it: In the Ditch.  And here’s board where I keep scraps of possibilities. Hopefully you’ll find brain stimulation there too. And one more, By Anne R. Allen, with enough wit to put some saucy back in your key strokes and determination to defy discouragement.

In the next several posts I’m going to be “going deeper”. That’s something the Holy Spirit  has been etching on my heart lately. I’m not completely sure what it means, but the more that I explore it, I’m finding it applies to nearly every aspect of my life.

I have a tendency to cast a wide net. I reach farther, do more and often give up quickly on the things that seem to have the least potential. Then it’s off to the next interest, praying this ambition is more promising (honestly, praying that maybe I found God’s sweet spot for me). Anxiety wells the longer it takes for an effort to blossom. Pure fear takes over when God seems to tie my hands behind my back. Wait He says, kneel here until your knees wear a deep indentation in the carpet.

What are the things that make you question whether you’ve heard God? What were you completely sure of yesterday, that you’re less than convinced of today? How do you know if you’re on the right track? What if you’re not?

*Galatians 6:9

10 thoughts on “Unidentified Calling

    1. Thanks Anne-Marie! It’s so good to have sisters in Christ, even those we cannot meet face-to-face. I treasure your friendship!

  1. Hi Abby,

    First of all, God never gives us anything to do that we can’t do and God is never in a hurry. I believe that the things we see and learn on the journey are as important as the destination. By the time we get there, we will be ready. Therefore we need to relax and focus only on the things that are important. But those important things include having fun and experiencing joy.

    Secondly : Those links you shared are brilliant. I like the advice from Rachelle : “You might write articles or guest posts, or speak to groups. This is how you build a platform around your area of interest; then you can create a book for the audience you’ve already gathered.” So, you’re doing exactly the right thing ! You’re gathering an audience and we are very keen to see your Deeper writing, when all your thoughts are gathered together in one place.
    I tend to operate in 2 modes : “squirrel” or “grasshopper”. the grasshopper jumps around all over the place, has fun, feels great but doesn’t prepare for the winter. The squirrel gathers nuts in a safe place, thinks about what he needs and keeps his eye on the prize. Then he can run up and down trees and have some fun. I used to do too much grass-hopping but with God’s help became slightly more squirelly. Eagles may soar, but squirrels don’t get sucked into jet engines. Anyway, there is a balance and squirrels are joyful creatures and have fun, live, learn and share their skills. Just keep your eye on the real prize : eternal life.

    Thirdly : We do come under attack from the old enemy. I learnt that the attacks come when we are doing good. Don’t forget the Screwtape Letters. If you feel disheartened, it probably means your are doing something very valuable and are on the edge of a breakthrough. Never, ever forget : “Defeat is temporary. Giving up makes it permanent”. (Anon). Many of the world’s greatest people struggled before success : http://www.cmoe.com/blog/famous-failures.htm

    Fourthly : Your life has already blossomed and you will go from strength to strength. It takes time. I learnt that nothing is impossible, but nothing is easy. Don’t let criticism get in the way either :
    “If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticises me” (John Bunyan)

    Finally : PLEASE, PLEASE read Rick Warren’s Books, starting with “Purpose Driven Life”. It’s VERY easy to read and has a lot of your answers ! (or do it just as a favour for me)



  2. I can relate to your feeling of wanting to rush ahead if an endeavor doesn’t appear to be blossoming… And it can be really hard to work out if we’ve heard God correctly or not. I think He definitely doesn’t make it too easy for us. Instead of giving us all the obvious answers, he urges us to keep kneeling, as you say, and wait in faith. He will reveal. And even if we don’t hear Him correctly, He’ll be with us all the way and pick us up when we fall.
    All the best with the projects you’re working on, and the dreams God has placed in your heart…

  3. David, I can promise you I will read Purpose Driven Life!! I’ve bought it for Kindle, I just have to finish a few book reviews first! I thank God for your friendship, wisdom, encouragement, honesty and counsel!

    1. Thanx Abby.
      Actually, Purpose Driven Life is not meant to be read cover-to-cover. Rick explains that it is a 40 day journey and that ONLY one chapter should be read each day : each is only about 10 to 14 pages, so it’s very quick to read each day.

      He wants us to think more deeply about the wisdom being shared, so that’s the reason for the small bite-sized chunks. I successfully resisted the temptation to do more than one chapter in a day. Each time I read it, I was reading another book at the same time. (As you know, 40 days is a significant number !)

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