Monday, February 18, 2019

Following God's Calling

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately because I was recently very tempted to not. I was about ready to ditch it all—writing, music, politics, everything I've been working towards since before I graduated from high school—and go get a teaching degree and be a lonely, workaholic elementary school teacher with no bigger mission than my immediate students. I really was ready to do that, as miserable and terrified as I was about it. But I can't.

Since I was a kid, I always had an idea of what I wanted out of life. I don't think I was ever totally serious about the cheerleader or detective thing. Or even the making-movies-that-are-like-the-book thing. They were dreams, but dreams I knew I would never achieve. I'm never going to be Meg Murry or Jill Pole. (Me at twelve would have been a much better Meg than anything in last year's movie. Just sayin'.) And as much as I loved ballet, I knew I was never going to be a professional dancer.

But I always knew I was going to write books. I knew I was going to learn to play the violin. I long intended to teach music. If you look back at the comments in my "Why I'm Not Going to College" post, you can see that I had already considered the possibility of working at a library. (And wow, some of those comments. As if I'm an oppressed girl who isn't allowed to pursue higher education, or a stupid kid who doesn't realize that college has value. Not someone who's trying to be an entrepreneur and would prefer to spend her money on things that are actually applicable to her path in life.) Speaking of which, as I prayed about my post-graduate direction while in high school, one thing I knew for certain was that I was not going to college. I don't have anything against college in and of itself. I just knew it wasn't God's path for me. I've always known that I can't walk away from politics. It's too important to America, and it's too important to me personally. I know it's part of my wall. I knew where we were supposed to move, and as soon as we set foot in our current house, I knew it was the one.

My problem is, when things don't happen in the time that I expect them to, I start to doubt God's calling. I start to try to make other plans than the ones I made when I was seeking and listening to God. Plans that ditch the gifts God gave me and told me to use.

See, I never expected it to take so long to be financially successful as a writer. But I still had a lot to learn. I never expected it to take so long to build a decent sized music studio. But I'm incredibly grateful for the students I have now and the students I've had in the past and how they've taught me and pushed me to be a better teacher and musician. I didn't expect to have a job that severely limits my ability to be involved in politics by requiring quite a number of Saturday hours. But I've learned so much from working at the library in so many areas, including how to create a better book.

And because of that, I've been like Peter trying to walk on the water, taking my eyes off of Christ and sinking. Trying to ditch the gifts God has given me, the calling I know He's given me, in favor of the "easy" path.

Because it would be so much easier to just go get that teaching degree because I know I could make a living teaching elementary school. Even though I know I don't do well teaching classes and do much better one on one where I can individualize instruction to each child. Because it's hard to make a living with home businesses, never mind the fact that God has provided enough income for me to pay an agreed-upon rent to my parents while still being able to fund my writing and take piano lessons and save money for the future. And He's provided me with parents who support my entrepreneurial efforts and won't let me give them up. My mom told me not to talk about the college thing until I'd read Business Boutique. Because she doesn't want me to give it up.

The thing is, when I consider giving up writing, giving up music, giving up political involvement, I'm utterly miserable. Because I'm considering not using God's gifts. Not following the calling I've known He gave me since I was a child. And honestly, that's sin.

Not using the gifts God gives you is a sin.

God does everything for a reason. He gives us gifts for a reason. He gives us interests and passions for a reason. Because He intends us to use them for His glory, to further His Kingdom. And not doing those things He wants us to do, even if what we're doing instead is an inherently good thing, is wrong.

We're supposed to build our own part of the wall.

There are many parts of the wall...the church and standard church missions, government, education, entertainment, business, media, the family. Sometimes our parts of the wall intersect multiple spheres. But if we devote ourselves to a part of the wall God hasn't called us to, we aren't building our wall. We aren't being effective in the way God wants us to.

"There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan; and he was there when the giant King caused the letters to be cut, and he knew already all things that would come of them; including this."
—Puddleglum, The Silver Chair

God doesn't make mistakes. All the gifts He gives us, all the interests He puts in us, all the doors He opens and all the doors He shuts. They aren't an accident. He knows why. He knows what's going to come of it. He knows how these things will serve His Kingdom.

The more I tried to find a plan other that what God is calling me to, the more miserable I was. Now that I'm working on figuring out that next step in my author career, now that I'm not willing to give up my music studio, my political involvement, I'm much more at peace. I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. It's not easy, not at all, but I know I'm trying, in my own fallen way, to follow God's calling.

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