When Your Calling Hangs Up
In church, there is a pretty big push toward "finding your calling." Not just church though. I've spent most of my life trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with my life.
I thought when I became pregnant that my "calling" would be cemented finally. But strangely, it wasn't. Being Ella's mom is the best decision I've ever made, but it wasn't my calling either, and man, did I struggle with that. Most of the people around me repeated "Being a mom is the hardest job in the world!" like some kind of mantra. But I disagreed with them. It's difficult to be a successful parent, but it's not that hard all the time, at least for me. I'm sure Ban-Ki Moon, any soldier in a combat zone and a load of other people have it harder than I do on a daily basis.
Just shy of 30, I started to have a sort of identity crisis. Ella was getting bigger, and frankly, she needed me less. Did I do what everyone did and have another baby, postponing it a further few years?
I went to a church weekend, not expecting my life to change. I'd been writing, but this idea of writing a novel had been in my mind rather than on paper. A man gave a sermon about dreams and callings, and suddenly it all became clear. Writing was it. I loved it. I felt this pull inside me like an anchor, sticking me in the right place finally. It was something I could do around Ella and Josh and felt like my calling.
I read books on writing, started taking courses, worked on this blog, started the novel. I read about writing. I wrote down Donald Miller and Annie Dillard quotes in a journal to encourage myself.
See, don't you want to write something, even if you don't know how?
It started out well, and I was excited, and then somehow, in the last six months, I got lost. I could hear the voices in my head without wondering if I was crazy, so I increased my bipolar meds. The doctors told me it would be temporary. I guess it sort of has been, but I still haven't had a day in 6 months where I don't get this uncomfortable, out-of-body feeling, or I find myself struggling with grasp of reality. That is something you have to do with writing, it seems. You have to know the difference between fiction and non-fiction at the very least.
My story/novel seemed less and less important, less and less clear, less and less urgent. So I've sort of stopped. And people are still asking me how it's going.
It's not really. I'm trying. Really hard. I'm trying all sorts of things, but it's hard not to wonder if maybe I was on some kind of manic high. Maybe it was just a delusion of grandeur.
My "calling" feels like it's hung up. So what now?
I've done lots of courses in my life to find out what I'm good at, what my passion is, where my talents can be used, what my spiritual gifts are, how to be a leader, how to teach, and how to help people understand God and faith.
There isn't a shelf of books at the library for this part of living I'm dealing with. Yes, the bible has lots of these stories, but I'm struggling to understand them. There don't see to be many Bible studies entitled "You're A Big Fat Failure at Doing What You Thought God Asked of You!" I haven't found a self-help book entitled "524 Ways to Muddle Through and Pretend You Have Purpose!" I've done several courses on Christian Leadership but no one teaches a course called "Christian Just-Doing-Some-Stuff-Until-Your-Calendar-Is-Full". I'm pretty sure "waiting for God to lightning a novel out my fingertips" isn't a good answer to "What are you up to these days?"