I’m feeling disillusioned. My last blog sparked some conversations with people about what makes them glad in life and what makes them glad in their vocation. The conclusion: a lot of us are in jobs that don’t exactly fit.
As an idealistic art major, my studies were never about finding a job for anything as crass as money, but doing work that expressed who I am. Once Christ captured my heart, He gave me a passion for molding something that would last a lot longer than a clay pot, namely hearts of college students. I became so caught up in the greatness of that work that I sometimes forgot my deep yearning to create. Again, money never factored in. Later in life, when I realized my lopsided life lacked creative expression, I began to pursue writing – not for the royalty checks but for the joy of knowing that I was giving language to what God had put into my heart to be shared.
Somehow I’ve let that passion become smothered. Time for writing is stuffed into the corners of my busy life now, with the endless demands on writers today draining me of the joy I once felt. Gone are the days of contemplative authors holed up in a lakeside cabin, withdrawing from all but their craft. The pressure is intense. I must expand my on-line presence. Make my website snazzier. Keep up with social media. Maintain my sales reports. Be diligent to set up speaking engagements. Network and pitch at writers’ conferences. Blog frequently. And switch gears to write at least 2,000 new words a day. Agh! I can’t breathe.
Not only do these activities suck the pleasure dry, but each one comes with a steep price tag. OK, so I never intended to get rich writing, but I don’t really want to lose money either.
How do I make time to write – just write? How do I get back to the pure, simple joy of letting words flow through my fingertips, of trying to lasso ideas and give them expression, of writing fearlessly without any thought of editing? I used to feel passionate about writing. The 18 months I spent writing my book were some of the best of my life; I mourned the completion as though a good friend were leaving. Now the process feels burdensome because it’s morphed into two aspects that do NOT bring me gladness: technology and business.
As I asked some friends what they are passionate about, some didn’t even know. Maybe passion is a bit too strong if you like accounting, but everyone has something that brings gladness. What can you do to recapture that, to make it part of your life again, to give it centrality in your life? We find our calling in the place where gladness resides. To paraphrase Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire: “When I run (or write or paint or whatever it is for you), I feel His pleasure.” That’s where I want to be.