“You cannot do this. You have nothing to say.” Those are the words she heard over and over again in her head. They were loud voices, even harsh at times. “What are you doing here?”
Why had she come to this conference, this writer’s conference? Doubts and fears overwhelmed her because she wasn’t sure she did have anything worthy to say.
As she looked around the lobby, she saw men and women huddled together, talking about their latest projects. She saw one lady, animated about her fiction novel, the one she has been researching for years, and is now ready to put on paper. Another spoke excitedly about a Bible study she has just written. There were stories, no pun intended, everywhere.
She wasn’t comparing herself to accomplished authors. These writers had put in their “10,000 hours”, and deserved to be published. No, it really wasn’t that at all. Besides, there were some writers here who had never written a single word. Longing and curiosity had brought them to this place.
What then? What was causing her anxiety?
She was doubting her calling. Had she heard God right? Did He want her to write? Did she have anything worthwhile to say?
Did she have a voice?
Does that ever happen to you? You think you know what God has asked you to do. You step out in faith, but something happens that shakes you up a bit. You hear a condemning voice, “You cannot do that. You are not called to ________.” And then you doubt. You question. You fear. You may even grumble and complain. Whine, if you will.
I know I have. I know I do.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Fear is not from God. When God calls us to do something, He gives us power, and passion and peace. He does not whisper (or yell) condemnations into our ear. No where in God’s Word do we see him saying things like, “you are stupid. you are no good. you cannot do this.” If God wants us to change course, He will guide us, but He won’t belittle us in the process.
It took her a day or two after she arrived home to clear her head of the criticism. To shake off the lies. The truth was God had given her this passion, a desire to put her heart on paper. She’s still not sure what direction her writing will go. Does she have a fictional book inside of her? Does she have a gift for devotionals? It’s not clear just yet. But that’s okay.
She is standing just at the gate. She almost turned and ran the other way, but with new purpose and resolve, she stepped through and began to slowly walk. And in time, as she thinks, ponders, writes and writes, God will help her find her voice.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17