After a fifteen year absence, I went back to a writing conference this past weekend. People asked me what I’d been doing in those fifteen years. Mmmm. We moved three times. Major moves. Once across two provinces. My children were born. I was too tired when they were really little to write much more than the alphabet. Ten years of severe sleep deprivation is not conducive to a writing career. I usually didn’t even have to get past saying I had kids and the person was already nodding. They understood.
These are the excuses I hid behind this past weekend. It’s the truth just not full disclosure. Fear held me back. Fear of not being good enough. I had already failed once attempting to be a writer, a journalist. I let it define me as a failure. I would never be a writer.
Ann Voskamp in her bible study, One Thousand Gifts, talks about how fear makes us live small lives. Stops and makes you think, doesn’t it? I have lived small for fifteen years. What about you? Is there any area where you live small?
In the past year, my fog cleared. I’ve been running from a writing project for a long time. It’s not that I wasn’t passionate about it or felt called to write it. I just didn’t feel good enough to pen it. I worked on it when it fit into my schedule.
Circumstances this past year, dictated I get it done. Hemmed in, with only one option out, I sat down and clicked away on the computer keys. A sense of purpose filled me and the final goal was attending Write Canada.
Don’t you love conferences? It’s one of the best ways to learn because there are so few distractions! It’s awesome when a theme becomes an echo for the entire weekend. Totally unplanned by the speakers. That’s when you know you’ve discovered something special. Both Mark Buchanan and Ted Dekker, the keynote speakers, spoke about the pitfalls of success. Publishing, the pinnacle of success in the writing world, means nothing, if you aren’t engaged in a relationship with God. If that relationship is right then the rest falls into place. Whether you’re a writer, accountant, teacher, whatever you do, this applies to all of us. It’s a key to life. All the money in the world, success as the world says it must be, is zero. It will leave you empty if you do not have a relationship with the One who created you and gave you the desires to create, crunch numbers or whatever.
The conference was also a calling out for me. A summons out of the cave, where I’ve hid for fifteen years. Confirmation that the call to be a writer was not my imagination. A gift, not to be hid, buried in the dirt like the talent in the parable of the Ten Talents, but used and multiplied. (Matthew 25) It doesn’t just apply to writing. I’ve been stomping down a number of things over the years. Fear to be, to do. Life in the small lane.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to become some mega extrovert overnight. Say yes to every request. Not at all. It’s not a call to go be “busy for God.” He doesn’t need that. It’s an adjustment of attitude. As Mark Buchanan reminded us this past weekend, are we available when God calls? He’s looking for someone who is ready and willing to go. I want to be able to raise my hand. “Here I am Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) Maybe I’m not the most talented but He’s more than able to fill in the gaps.
What about you? Where have you been the last fifteen years? Have you been hiding? What’s your cave? I’d encourage you to listen for God calling you out of that cave. He needs workers who are willing and ready. He knows you. He’s calling you by name. Won’t you join me as we ditch life in the small lane?