by Laura McClellan
Are you called to write?
That question has come up many times during the past fifteen months as I’ve worked on my first novel. At writing conferences, in blog posts, in emails on the ACFW loops-I’ve lost count of the number of times people have referred to being “called” to write, with not much discussion about what that means.
I’ve struggled with the concept, partly because I dislike undefined religious jargon. I’ve pondered-what does it mean to be “called” to write? Am I “called” to write? And if I’m not, does that mean I shouldn’t do it? Isn’t it okay to write just because you enjoy it? Does being “called” to write somehow elevate your writing in some way?
I thought about this for months. When I searched the Bible for verses about being called, I didn’t find anything that persuaded me that I’m “called” to write.
* I am (we are) “a chosen people … a people belonging to God, that [I] may declare the praises of him who called [me] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9).
* I was called “to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thess. 2:13–14)
* I was called to hope (oh, thank God). (Eph. 1:18, 4:4)
* I have been called (chosen and appointed) “to go and bear … fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
* I’ve been called to fulfill the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19–20)
* I have been “called according to his purpose … predestined to be confirmed to the likeness of his Son… .” (Rom. 8:28)
I have come to believe that I am called to one thing, and one thing only: to follow God.
I am not called to write. Writing is merely an expression of my calling. It is, I believe, a gift God has given me, and we are told to use our gifts to serve others. (1 Pet. 4:10)
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the concept, but I think a calling is something indispensable, undeniable, necessary, irrefutable. Something required of us.
And I don’t find anything in God’s word that convinces me that we are required to write. Instead, I find this:
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
I can do those things without ever writing another word. Conversely, I can write and publish volumes of words and never fulfill that calling.
May it never be so.
Laura McClellan (www.laura-mcclellan.com) has been married over 30 years to the same man (she says she was a child bride). She’s mom to five, grandmother to five, and a partner in a large Dallas law firm. During her “spare time” Laura is polishing her first novel, a winner in several fiction contests.