Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writing - A Call or a Choice?

Most of you have heard my story before from older posts - how I've been writing since I was a little girl, how I started attending conferences at the age of 18, how I was first published by a small press at the age of 22, acquired a literary agent at 23 and was published and multi-contracted by Steeple Hill at age 24.
I can't tell you how many times at ACFW conferences (American Christian Fiction Writers) fellow authors have grabbed my arm and with eyes shut tight against the remorse, told me "If ONLY I had started writing as young you did!!"

I've always wanted to write. Since I was a young teenager, when someone asked me what I "wanted to be when I grew up", I would answer "That's easy. A wife, a mother, and an author."
It's never been a question in my mind, but at times, it has been a doubt in my heart.

Do you ever wonder about that difference?

Authors often debate being "called" to write. Does God specifically call every published author to write for Him, as he "calls" to the ministry and to the mission field? What about unpublished authors, who feel the same burning passion the published writers do? What then? Is writing a calling, or a choice? Both? Neither?

It's a tough puzzle to piece together, and I am by no means qualified to do so. But I want to bring up the questions so that you can ask yourself.
Are you doubting your call today? Are you wondering if you misheard God's command? Realized you've been reading His map for your life upside down?

You're not alone! I think we've all been there at some point or another. No one wants to admit it, because they want to think their lives are going just as they expected. Well, can honestly say that??? =)

I think the reassurance from the doubts come through the little things - and even the little things that turn into big things, like with the previous entry on this blog. Powerful stuff! (go back and read if you haven't!)

For example, I recently became a stay at home/write at home mom. It's been literally my dream come true, and I'm grateful every day for the opportunity.

Except on bill-paying days.
Those days I tend to panic, and think I'm being selfish to have my husband work two jobs so I can stay home and write and raise our daughter and bring in the sporadic paycheck from my publisher. Those days, I tend to forget the investment we're making into Little Miss's life, and I forget how my husband chose this for us - not me. I tend to heap on the guilt and anxiety and forget that we prayed about this decision - that God led us to this point.

He reminded me today, as He did months ago, that even though its often scary, I'm still on the right path. I opened up the mailbox after fretting over our credit card bill and there, in all its manilla glory, was an envelope with a paycheck from my publisher.

God's timing is never, ever late.

So once again, I was humbled. Reminded of my calling. Reminded of my choice.

Because for me, it truly is both.

What is it for you?


  1. Great post, Betsy. I am forever doubting if this is REALLY what God wants for me - so this was a perfect reminder! Just because it's our call doesn't mean it's going to be easy. So good to have friends who are going through the same thing!

    P.S. Yay for royalty checks!

  2. After reading a tribute to the late author Florence Case, where the writer quoted her as saying, “If writing is your dream, please do not give up on it. I recently read that there are two ways to write as a Christian--to be called to it by God, and to just write and offer it as a gift to God. Isn't that something? I'm not sure which mine is. ” I'm more at peace with this question. For now, at least.

    I know that called to be a writer from the cradle and compelled to write, or writing because I love it and want to do it,the work of my hands should be an offering to God.

    I'm cool with that.

  3. Great thoughts, Erica! Thanks for posting =)

  4. Wonderful post, Betsy. I've seen it so often in my life, from Bible School, to the mission field, to every day life -- just when we think we can't go on, God always steps in and meets our need.

    Like you, I've never wanted to do anything else with my life than to be a wife, mother, and author. Anything else is just passing the time. Of course, there are all kinds of other things that might be fun to do, but these three are the very core of who I am, and it's always been that way for me. There's a physical ache that simply won't be filled until they're accomplished. Well, more than just accomplished, until I'm flourishing in those capacities. That's two down, one to go. :o)

  5. I think it IS a calling and a choice for me. Hang in there! Your baby girl will always look back and be grateful for the time you had together!