As a Christian writer, you’ve probably wrestled with the question of calling. Am I called by God to write, or is it just my own selfish desire? We want to know God’s will because we want to obey God’s will, but what is God’s will for us when it comes to writing?
We wish there was a verse in the Bible that says, “Jana Carlson [insert your own name here], God wants you to write!” But that verse doesn’t exist, so we keep wondering and waiting and hoping for the seemingly elusive answer.
But the Bible tells us that God’s will is not a mystery. We don’t have to hunt for hidden clues to solve the riddle of His call on our lives. James 1:5 says God gives us wisdom liberally when we ask for it. He wants to give us wisdom when we seek His will.
The Bible is God’s revealed will. Everything we need to know to live the life God wants us to live is in this Book (2 Peter 1:3). So, maybe we don’t need to wait for a burning bush like Moses. Maybe the call to write for God’s glory is simpler than that. Maybe we’re overthinking it.
How to Identify God’s Call
Consider this: As spring approaches, do you ask, “Has God called me to plant a garden?” Most people don’t ask that. They just do it. What’s wrong with planting a garden, right? If you have the time, space, and resources to plant a garden, go ahead and plant a garden! No need to overthink it!
David Mathis, a Christian author I deeply admire, outlines three questions or categories to help identify a calling.
- Do I desire it? This is aspiration. Do you enjoy writing?
- Has God gifted me for it? This is affirmation, and it sometimes comes from others. Have others recognized and/or encouraged your writing skill?
- Has God opened the door? This is opportunity. It’s better to join the work God is already doing than to try to create your own opportunity from scratch.
Questions like these three serve as helpful guidelines for discerning God’s will for how we steward our time, talent, and treasure for the glory of God.
Remember, God has given us what we need to walk in wisdom. Not every decision is explicitly addressed in the Bible, so we have a certain amount of freedom on matters like these to discover God’s will by stepping out in faith. Often, as we step out in faith by walking through open doors, God reveals His will for us “supernaturally naturally”.
Today, I can confidently say that God has called me to write for His glory, but I didn’t always know that for certain. There was never a specific moment of revelation that finally clarified God’s call on my life to write.
How I Became a Writer
I’ve loved writing since I first learned to print the alphabet in kindergarten. As a child, I wrote stories and poetry for fun. I relished my high school English assignments. My mom often encouraged me to write a book. I secretly loved the idea and dreamed about seeing my writing published, but I never allowed myself to linger in that fantasy for long—I wasn’t sure it was God’s will for me.
When blogs were born in the early 2000s, I started one as a hobby. I posted every day and developed a significant following. I didn’t think much about it. I just did it because I enjoyed writing and I was intrigued by this new online writing medium.
But as blogs grew in popularity, and as mine, in particular, became more demanding, I began to neglect my responsibilities as a wife and mom. My love of writing became an idol. After much prayer and eventual submission to the Lord, I gave up my blog and set writing aside to get my heart and home in order.
Over the next ten years, God brought our family through a long season of continuous trials and trauma. Through it all, He taught me a lot about Himself through His Word. I got the itch to write again because I sincerely wanted to share with others what God had done, how He had revealed Himself to me, and what I had learned.
But I didn’t want to fall into the sinful habits of my past, failing to love my family and put their interests before my own, so I just waited and prayed.
In the meantime, God provided me with part-time data entry work for a neighbor who ran a small business. She recognized my skill in written communication and suggested I experiment with blogging on her business website. I couldn’t believe it! God had not only opened a door for me to write again but was also providing for us financially through it!
Eventually, my boss began to refer others to me, and I became busy writing for other businesses. I quit my job and became a full-time freelance writer in 2017.
That same year, I started my own blog as an outlet for writing what I hoped would be words that explicitly glorify God. This led to an opportunity to write articles and devotionals for online ministries, some of which were eventually published in a book (to my genuine surprise!).
Today, I still write full-time for a few clients, ministries, and my own website; mentor other writers in various contexts; and serve as a coordinator and editor for our church blog.
An Invitation to Write for God’s Glory
My encouragement to you is this: If you enjoy writing, if you desire to write for God’s glory, if your gift of writing has been affirmed and you have the opportunity to do it, then write! Don’t overthink it. Don’t predetermine what the end result should be or what “success” will look like for your work. Just follow God’s lead day by day and be faithful with what He’s put in front of you.
David Mathis also says, “Writing is not the privilege of a few gifted Christian dignitaries, but an invitation to every believer.” An invitation! How exciting! How will you respond to the invitation?