Are You ‘Called’ to Write? – Part II
I was thrilled that the posting Are You ‘Called’ to Write? generated so many responses from aspiring writers – awesome! I noticed that THE most common theme running throughout many of the lives of those hearing the call to write is this: “I just can’t seem to find the time.”
That was my excuse for a while too. I was working a full time job and juggling what seemed like a million other commitments and activities. I wanted to devote more time to writing, but there just wasn’t time for it. Maybe when life slows down a little, I rationalized.
That is until I was on an airplane back to Singapore after a visit from the U.S. when I heard God speak one word that would change everything: SIMPLIFY. Just like that. It was like God dropped an atomic bomb on my heart.
“What do you mean, Lord?” I asked.
Through that familiar still small voice of the Spirit that I was learning to know very well replied, “You are too busy. You need to simplify your life in order to get ready for what I have called you to do.”
But God wasn’t finished yet. He proceeded to take me through an exercise to review all the activities I was involved in at the time. A sort of life “inventory” if you will. Right then and there, I made a list of all the friends in my current network with whom I interacted or connected on a regular basis, along with a list of all the ministry activities and commitments I had, a list of all the social activities in which I was involved, AND the commitments and projects I had for my full-time job.
After I faithfully completed the task, I stared bug-eyed at the page of my journal. I was actually quite amazed at how much I was managing to squeeze into my schedule. But it wasn’t immediately clear what point God was attempting to make. I was busy, yes. But they were all things that seemed to add value to myself, my community or my society at large. How could I possibly simplify this list of “good” things?
But then I was reminded of my deep and burning desire to write and how I just “didn’t have the time.” God was helping me to see that if I wanted time, I would have to streamline.
I got the point. I knew I had to make some changes to simplify my life. So with the lists out in front of me, the Holy Spirit helped me to cut them down. It wasn’t easy at first, and it didn’t happen over night. But I slowly began to make purposeful shifts in my lifestyle and priorities – with a focus on quality versus quantity. Investing in fewer friendships, commitments and activities not only added depth and richness to each one, but it also freed up my time. Time to rest. And time to hear and do what God was calling me to do: write!
This whole “simplify” period happened in June of 2009. I didn’t know it at the time that God was preparing me for a season of “bearing fruit” for His Kingdom. My first book assignment began just a few months later in September 2009 and was completed in July 2010!
Jesus says in John 15:8, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Fruit can come in many different forms, but when it comes to writing, it’s not going to get done by itself. We are the vehicles for this kind of “fruit” that God wants to birth through us – words, thoughts and ideas that will bring glory to His Name. Not later. Not when we have more time. The fact is, we will never have more time. The time is NOW.
Simplify. It’s a simple word. But it changed everything for me. And it can for you too.
What is God calling you to do in this season? If you don’t know, pray and ask God to make it clear.
What’s keeping you from taking steps of action? Write down any excuses, fears or hindrances. Be honest and get it out in the open.
Are you engaged in His business or just plain busy-ness? Conduct your own life inventory. List out all the friends, ministry, social and work activities. Pray and ask God to help you simplify if need be!
Chew on This:
“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.” -Bruce Lee