This weekend I logged 12 hours of writing. I worked through rewriting and submitting three chapters to my critique group for review. It was glorious and inspired…and awful.
Have you ever watched a heavy-weight lifter? He begins by taking several deep breaths, filling his lungs with enough oxygen to sustain the upcoming exertion of energy. Bending to grip the bar, feet planted firm against the mat, he takes in one last pull of air and strains against the weights. To onlookers, it’s unnatural and improbable that he will be able to overcome the burden. With the first burst of energy the bar settles above his bent elbows. It’s too much. Then, from the depths of his soul, a warrior cry emerges, calling forth the troops from within his populated lungs and trained muscles. For those not able to see the bar rise slowly above his head, over wrists trembling, it sounds of agony and defeat. With a deafening thud of the bar falling back to the ground, the lifter emerges spent, but victorious.
I was that weight lifter this weekend. With chalked hands I approached the keyboard with an inspired fervor. Some pages were heavier than others and required deep breaths to push past the pain. Passages that I couldn’t keep a grip on required resetting my feet a little wider. When my gaze fixed on nothing in particular out of frustration for finding the right word, it no doubt looked like defeat to those watching. Yet, each night my head hit the pillow exhausted with an intense satisfaction.
I’ve written before about being plagued with a tendency for procrastination. Some days I want desperately to write, but just can’t get the bar up past my straining bent elbows. But on days like I experienced this weekend, when the passion and calling to write is far more powerful, I am both in awe and a little terrified. Feeling God’s will for your life surge through you with a palpable electricity is quite possibly the purest form of fully living on this side of heaven.
You may find that an overstatement, maybe too dramatic. That is, unless you’ve experienced it for yourself. As a mother cradling a sick child. A teacher watching a student learn. A doctor discovering a cure. A mechanic hearing a broken engine start. An actor bowing for a standing ovation. When we’re called to a task, no matter how glamorous, no matter how many witnesses, God is pleased. We push through the hard parts with our warrior cries and God’s grace for the fight. And we win.
This isn’t to say the actual skill required for our calling, if there is any, is difficult. For me, the act of writing isn’t difficult in and of itself. It’s finding the time and discipline to do so effectively that challenges me. This weekend I was gifted with the time (thanks to my husband) and discipline (thanks to a more diligent schedule) to focus on my calling to craft stories of grace and love. It may be several days before I can write again. But today I’m basking in the glow of having lifted my calling high above my head with unwavering intention.
How do you face your calling? Has it been easy? What challenges do you face? How do you feel when you fill your lungs full of oxygen and press that bar to the sky?