A friend asked, “How do I know if I’m called to write?” He’d just read my summary of what J. I. Packer had to say to writers. He was responding to Packer’s last point: “Don’t attempt to be a writer unless you have got things to say which must be put on paper and are being called by God to do it. Being a writer is as vocational as being a preacher.”
Christians are often concerned about their call–to the mission field, to a vocation, to a cause, to a group of people. The impulse is good. If Jesus is Lord of all of life, then I should follow him where he leads. And if he wants to send me some place or use my gifts in some particular way–well, I don’t want to miss that for lack of attention.
I tend to look at these issues in an unsupernatural kind of way. I don’t tend to expect prophetic dreams, voices from heaven or letters from the great beyond. I don’t deny they happen, but that’s not the first place I look when trying to answer such a question. I tend to ask the following, not just about writing, but about anything I might consider as a possible call:
- Do I get joy and energy from do this? (Another way to ask the same thing is: Do I find myself doing this even when I don’t have to but just because I want to?)
- Do other people benefit from me doing this?
- Do others affirm what I am doing and encourage me to keep at it?
And here are some caveats:
- Not everything we are good at is a calling.
- Our job may be, but probably won’t be, our calling.
- We may have several calls in our lives–some major and some minor, some temporary and some longer term.
- We already know most of God’s will and don’t have to look far to find it. As others have said, the vast majority of what God wants from us is already found in the Bible and summarized in both the Ten Commandments and the Two Great Commandments.
So how do you find out if writing is your call? Write. Then write some more. Then write a lot more.
Try it. Experiment. See how you like it. See how others like it. And if those things check out, keep going. That might be a call.