If there’s one thing I’ve learned since going public with my writing career last year, it’s that a lot of people just don’t understand passion.
For many people, writing is an unpleasant task associated with high school essays and college research projects. When people learn I’ve written a book, they’re usually a little stumped. Even if they don’t ask it, I can see the question cross their face: Why in the world would you want to camp out in front of a computer screen and write?
I’ve given a lot of thought to that question and given various answers, but in all reality, it comes down to one thing: I have to.
See, I might choose when and what I write, but I can’t choose if I write or not. For me, writing is more than a talent I’m developing. It’s more than a future career. It’s something I’d do without making a cent for it because I love it. It’s my passion, an internal, unconquerable desire that pulls me forward, no matter the circumstance. It’s my calling.
What do I mean by calling? It’s something I’ve been turning over in my mind for awhile, but what really brought on this post was a familiar song I listened to on my afternoon commute last week — Songs for Sale by David Nail (The link goes to his commentary on the song, which I highly recommend listening to). Here’s the chorus lyrics:
Some are called to preach the gospel
String fence in Colorado
Some are born to raise a family
Swing a hammer at a nail
Haul bricks or carry mail
Go to college, Duke or Yale, but me,
I got songs for sale
It sounds a little cliche, but I truly believe each and every one of us has a true calling in our lives. Each of us has something that speaks to us, something that, in addition to bringing us happiness, brings us peace.
As for me, I’ve got words for sale. It’s what I’m called to do with my smidgen of time here on this earth. Tonight, I’m using my calling to encourage you to find yours and chase it with all your heart.
Some readers might think I’m going over the top here. Some might think that they couldn’t possibly have anything like that inside of them. I’m here to tell you that you do. Maybe you haven’t found your calling yet, but I promise, it’s just waiting to be discovered and unleashed. Maybe it isn’t writing, maybe it isn’t a creative endeavor at all. Your calling can be anything that brings you satisfaction: raising a family, working on a farm, doing research in a lab, crunching numbers at a bank, building skyscrapers — you name it.
Don’t worry about talent. Forget about not having time. Make time. Think big, but start small. Do what you can. Don’t think you have to sell the farm to chase your dreams. If you’re busy, it might cost you a little sleep, but isn’t fifteen minutes of sleep worth it to do what you were put on this earth for? Resisting the temptation of the snooze button might not be easy at first, but I can guarantee the feeling you’ll get doing something you’re passionate about is worth it.
That feeling is amazing, intoxicating and powerful. It’s the power that compels a single, working mother of three to fight through exhaustion at the end of the day and stay up past midnight painting. It’s the power that drives grown men to trash their bodies for a career that lasts an average of 3.5 years. It’s the power that has me glued to my chair writing this post after I went to bed at 5:30 this morning and then spent all day at work on three hours of sleep.
There’s a reason I titled this post “What’s your calling?” instead of “What’s your dream?” In my opinion, it’s too easy not to follow a dream. Some people treat a dream as something abstract. It’s something they hope for, but don’t ever ground in reality. There is nothing more frustrating and saddening to me than a person who talks about dreams but won’t make a move to bring them to reality. When you consider something your calling, something that you have to do, are compelled to do, that’s when things get serious.
I’m not saying that dedicating a little time doing what we love will bring world peace or anything like that. What I am saying is we can all be a little happier and feel a little more fulfilled if we take the time to discover and answer our calling.
So what are you waiting for? If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, find a way to take action. Stop waiting for permission from someone or something else. Sign up for a class, buy a book about it — do anything you can to take action today.
Set your alarm a little early tomorrow. Passion is calling. It’s time to answer.