I scoot into the vinyl both next to my husband for an impromptu business meeting during our vacation five years ago and walk away with a job offer. But the job isn’t the most surprising part of those moments during conversation over plates of pancakes and sausage.
It’s the way the Director of Communications considers me for a writing position, knowing my limited experience. She asks questions about my background in marketing and publishing, my love for photography, and the way I pioneer my children’s elementary school yearbook into the digital age. I had no idea then, how the fragments of my experiences would culminate into a writing life.
On gut instinct, she hires me to write features and news articles, for four years. Don’t we all need someone to believe in us, not for what we do but for who we are?
This job, it’s an answer to weeks of prayer about contributing to our family income. And I am specific. Asking God for work during the hours my kids are in school, flexiblility to volunteer and take inevitable trips with my family. It seems like I’m expecting a bit too much.
But God, His arms stretch wider than my capacity and my limited thinking. He has a call in mind, not a job.
I spend those initial days pacing the floor with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, underline and memorize passages in Zinsser’s On Writing Well to bridge the novice gaps. Read newspaper articles and analyze sentence structure in magazines to hone my skills. Take LaMott’s Bird by Bird advice to heart and write lots of “sh***y first drafts.”
Time is a selfish bedfellow, one that doesn’t leave room for stretching into conferences or classes on writing.
My voice shakes during the first phone interview. I take excessive notes, ask needless questions. My guinea pig, the kind man with the radio voice, he just happens to work for my husband now.
I expect my first stories, the ones I labor to deliver for hours hunched over my keyboard, to resemble shreds of the originals after the editing process. Pray my identity trumps the inevitable rejection. And I learn something.
Sometimes you don’t realize the call on your life – that thing that makes your heart sing because God creates you to do it – until someone recognizes it in you first. And being faithful to the process that defines calling, no matter how painful, lengthy and uncertain, can be a journey of transformative grace.
A key to victory through life’s difficulties, it’s one person who believes in you more than you believe in yourself.
You can be that one person for someone.
That breakfast on vacation, it leads to a slew of writing assignments and divine appointments with people that believe in what I bleed on the page. An essay chosen from thousands as a finalist for a writing contest. Abiding friendships with people I haven’t looked in the eyes, yet.
And this twisty, uncertain road of finding my voice amidst the writing crowds, it all starts with tagging along for an impromptu incident, that was planned all along.
How about you, who does God use to lead you into calling?
This post is part of a group blogging project celebrating the release of Inciting Incidents (Moody Press), a book featuring the stories of six creatives who share honestly about surviving life’s difficulties while attempting to do great things. You can visit the “Share Your Story” section of IncitingIncidents.Org to check out posts from other synchroblog contributors, or visit the sites of the authors: Sarah Cunningham, Jeff Goins, Dave Hickman, Blaine Hogan, Tracee Persiko, Stephanie Smith, Mandy Thompson and David Wenzel. In addition, you can hear more about the project in this NPR-style interview series by Moody Radio.
Also, if you pick up the book in the first two weeks, Moody will give you a bundle of free resources, including two full-length e-books. The book is available immediately at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christian Book.