Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Do You Have the Gift of Writing?

I was recently asked to contact a young woman who was attempting to write a book. The request came from a friend whose life in the church has resulted in her path being crossed with a whole lot of people from all walks of life with all sorts of varying gifts, talents, and calls.

In particular, I was told that the young woman had an “emerging gift of writing” which is why I was asked to meet with her and help in her discernment process. This “emerging gift of writing” is something, according to the friend who made the request, which is happening more and more often in the lay populace.

I agree.

I’m always receiving requests from people—everyday people who live their lives as nurses, mothers, engineers, government employees, teachers and even priests—who feel they are being called to write and would like me to help assess if this is a real call or just a wild goose chase. Catholics are on-fire for their faith in a new way and with that fire comes a wish, desire and even a need to bear fruit for the kingdom.

If you have begun to wonder if you, too, have the emerging gift of writing, it might be time to examine that idea more in-depth.

Here are a couple of tips that I try to share with those who are discerning this possibility:

  1. How long have you felt this “call?” If it is new, give it time to develop. See if God gives you “signs” to help you see that it is a gift. For example: someone might tell you that a thank you note you wrote really touched her heart. If you have the gift of writing, God will make sure you know you have it if you ask for his help in discerning it. 
  2. Take on an attitude of “holy indifference.” This means that you don’t become emotionally invested in the possibility of having this gift. Either way, you are okay with the outcome. You leave it all to God to help show you if this is a gift he has given you. 
  3. Spend ample time in Adoration and in prayer while you discern. This will keep you focus on serving God and knowing his will for you. 
  4. A specific thought or idea continually comes into your heart. Maybe you are a health care worker and out of nowhere, at any time during the day or any day of the week, you will feel a nudge to write about something that you feel will bless others. It happens again and again. In those cases, quietly but boldly ask God if he is putting that idea in your heart. 
  5. Don’t ask friends or family to help you discern—especially in the beginning. Sometimes even our best-intentioned friends and family can lead us astray. Maybe hoping to bolster our spirit or even willing to bend the truth so as not to offend us, our friends and family may not be able to offer objectivity so they shouldn’t be the first place we turn when we are seeking God’s counsel. God will provide what we need to know his will.

Like all gifts that are now emerging to serve God and the church, the emerging gift of writing can be fun and rewarding; but it can also be difficult and frustrating. Lots of people are doing their best to find God’s will in their lives but few are succeeding. This is because we tend to get emotionally invested in what we think must be what we are called to do (that’s why holy indifference is important). We even, incorrectly, assume that following God’s will has a particular “look and feel.” We falsely identify what is success and what is failure!

The peace that comes from knowing you have allowed God to reveal to you your own emerging gifts will be its own reward—even if a best-seller isn’t on the horizon.

Obedience is its own reward.

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