Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Test of a Calling

In every notable room in my parents' house, simple wooden shelves whisper volumes to anyone who stops to observe. They tell the purpose and function of not only the room, but also the people who use that room most. This ordinary furniture tells the secrets of thoughts, goals, dreams, and desires.

In my mother's office, the bookcase is loaded with volumes on two topics: spiritual instruction, and natural health and healing. The shelves in my father's studio host an eclectic assortment of artsy trinkets—and music books. The bookcases in the living room reflect their shared interests: gardening, traveling, family photos, hiking, nature identification. Like the pictures on the refrigerator, bookcases—full, empty, or absent—can help you get to know even a stranger.

I thought carefully when selecting the books for the shelves in my bedroom. I chose the books that I thought I would read and refer to most—and I boxed the rest up. Only later did I realize what the bookcase had to say about my passions, dreams, and interests.

Three of my seven shelves support books on birth, midwifery care, and home remedies. I placed them in the bookcase first, since I am, after all, a midwifery student. Two more shelves hold my spiritual books—not all of them, but the most special, as well as the ones I plan to read this year.

The remaining two shelves didn't make as much sense to me when I unpacked my books; I simply arranged them how my heart mandated. A few inspirational self-help books on personalities, relationships and romance, healing from past hurts. A handful of music books. My dictionary and thesaurus, Chicago Manual of Style, and Stein on Writing. Three empty journals received as gifts, twelve already filled, and one in progress. My writer's notebook, my binder full of Writer's Digest articles, and my writer's portfolio.

"The test of a calling, to me, is this," a friend recently remarked. "Can you do anything else? If so, do it."

When I left my job at Young Disciple, I didn't expect to be quickly called back into writing. Sure, I knew I would always have a writer's heart and I'd always dabble around with words. But, reasoning that the world has plenty of good authors (and no end to the mediocre), I planned to make my difference in the tangible world of mothers and babies.

And yet, as the bookcase testifies, the writer's calling has its stronghold in my soul. I can barricade myself with other pursuits; but like my friend, I have found that "God won't let me do anything else." As I cultivate new skills, knowledge, and interests—exploring the potential of new callings, to midwifery and other ministries—I have come to understand that in order to thrive, I must remain true to the calling God has already placed on my life, the talent He has already given. That's why, without abandoning my midwifery apprenticeship, I've added freelancing jobs and studies in journalism (plus a blog) back into my life, concurrently.

Do you know your calling, or would you like to discover it? Perhaps—just maybe—your bookcase already whispers it.


  1. Thanks for blogging! It does seem you have plenty of a writer's calling by evidence! And yeah, my bookshelves are monopolized by mainly certain types of callings...

  2. So glad you've joined the blogging world! (I can't wait to go home and scrutinize my bookshelf.) :)

  3. I think it is beautiful how God uses the talents He gives us to weave together into an intricate pattern that one day, perhaps we'll get a better glimpse of!

    As for writing...I've also discovered that, while I don't have the experience or the talent that others have, it is something that I simply must do. Like a friend of mine said, "When I write, I feel God's pleasure". Even if I just write for me. :)

    I'm happy you are blogging!