When Your Calling Frightens You

January 13, 2014 | 31 comments

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I heard how ridiculous they sounded.

“I don’t know if I can do this again. It was just so hard.” Those were the words I whined into the telephone, not long after I’d finished my first book — the one that comes out in April.

It was the book that God has been wooing me to write for years. The book that broke my heart wide open. And the book that let me know, more than I’d ever known before, how deeply loved and treasured I am by the Maker.

Yeah. It was hard to write. Really hard. Bang-your-head-against-the-keyboard-at-midnight heart. Cry-on-the-strong-shoulder-of-your-husband hard. You don’t tap out 55,000 words, and it not be “hard.”

But now, I was telling my friend that I didn’t know if I could write another book, ever again, because it was “too hard.”

My friend didn’t miss a beat. “But did God call you to write that book?”

Well. Yes. Of course He did.

“So,” she said, “are you telling me that if God calls you to write another book, if God calls you to do anything, that the difficulty of the task will determine whether you say yes or no?”

Um. Wow.

I want to live the right answer to her question. I want God to have my yes.

stairwell

I don’t want to be ruled by my comfort. I don’t want to be bossed around by my perceived weaknesses, and the enemy’s lie that the tasks before me are too hard.

Will God not strengthen me? Is His arm too short? I should say not.

Yet, I wonder this: how often have I turned my back on a Kingdom call, because I knew it would hurt. Because I knew it would be hard. Because I was frightened by the size of it  — that it was either too big, or too small, or it didn’t seem to fit at all.

How often have I picked earthly comfort over Christ?

I want God to have my best yeses. I want God to see my hand raised. When the Lord asks the question — “Whom shall I send?” — I want to unflinchingly utter these two words: “Send me!”

“Hard” is quite often a byproduct of your calling. “Hard” is the stone-cold floor of Paul’s prison. “Hard” is drop-your-nets-and-follow-the-Teacher. “Hard” is pick up your cross. Hard is the way of the missionary, the tireless work of the saints, the suffering of your dying Savior.

Look: I’ve been “about” my comfort. But God? He has been about my character.

And yes, He is the Comforter, too. But perhaps I’ve misunderstood what “comfort” really means.

I search online, and find it, in the Latin.

Comfort: com + fortis 

with + strong

Our Comforter? He is strong with us. He is with us, making us strong.

com + fortis

This kind of comfort? It’s a game-changer. 

God’s comfort, Amy Carmichael writes, “is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love.”

When the call is hard, your Comforter “is strong with you.”

When the way is long, your Comforter is making you strong for the journey.

When your mission field looks too daunting, your call too difficult, your cross too heavy, your dream too dreamy, your God-assignment too hard, the door too heavy? Put your hand to the doorknob anyway. Walk through.

And feel the hand of the Comforter on the small of your back, strong with you.

doorknob

What do you sense God calling you to, in 2014?

Submitted in community with Michelle DeRusha.
Photos submitted as part of Tweetspeak Poetry’s photo challenge. 

 

by | January 13, 2014 | 31 comments

31 Comments

  1. Constance Ann Morrison

    Yes, Jennifer, I want to be obedient, too.

    One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was an answer to my whining “It’s too hard!” The wise words were “Difficult is not the same as impossible.”

    With God all things are possible. My calling for 2014? Keep writing.

    Reply
  2. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Hmmm…I’m not exactly sure what He’s calling me to do in 2014. But I know this. I want to be ready, and like you, “I want God to have my best yeses. I want God to see my hand raised. When the Lord asks the question — “Whom shall I send?” — I want to unflinchingly utter these two words: “Send me!”

    Reply
  3. ro elliott

    i love the description of comfort here…yes…the God of all comfort…I am in a season of deep rumblings…no words…no vision…but I know He is preparing and your words here sharpen me in the process…blessings and grace…

    Reply
  4. staceythacker

    “Hard” is quite often a byproduct of your calling.

    Umm, yes. Today.

    Thanks for words that call me up!

    Reply
  5. IfMeadowsSpeak

    You are reading my mail. 2014 seems to be the year God is on the move. Your words here are bolstering and buoying me, friend.

    Reply
  6. Michelle DeRusha

    Clearly you and I are on the same page this week with the calling thing. Good word here – much-needed. xxoo

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yeah. We’re singing from the same sheet of music, friend.

      Reply
  7. Rachael

    Thank you, Jennifer. And to the Lord, “Send me.”

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You are so welcome, Rachael. Have a great week.

      Reply
  8. Rebekah

    Again, outstanding. I had to look up Amy’s full quote. “He is with us to make us strong . . . “. Thanks for speaking my word again! I feel weak, discouraged, confused so I keep reminding myself that He is with me. Not really sure what is ahead, except I know He is with me He and has gone before me.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Praying these words for you, Rebekah:

      Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
      Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
      Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
      Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise…

      Reply
      • Rebekah

        Amen.
        Thank you, Jennifer.

        Reply
  9. Dana Butler

    That is a phenomenal Amy Carmichael quote. Needed this today. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Indeed. Thanks for coming by, Dana.

      Reply
  10. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Well, I told you a post or so ago, what I feared, and that is the thing that is too hard. Truly. I have no idea if God is calling me to write another book (no clue, no ideas). But I’ll tell you after I compiled, edited, and wrote “take-aways” (with some of my own writing) two books, and then God called me to write a book of my own (Actually, His own!), then I said, “Well, I’ve done the very hard thing He asked me to do, and if I never write again, then I did it.” It took ten hard years to get this book published. Ten. That’s a lot of time. Anyway, not sure exactly what I’m trying to say, but yes, I know we need to do the hard thing if He asks. Currently, my hard thing is launching my journaling business, and I have actually taken some first steps. Dont’ you sometimes wonder, Jennifer, how many hard things there will be for one life? And I do know, once you write a book (at least right afterward), often you say, “Never again!” 🙂 But what if He is saying to you to write ever again or yet again? I can tell you are going to say yes.
    Love
    Lynn
    Sorry for how disjointed this sounds. I’ve very little time before my Bach rehearsal. And, interestingly, every time I work on a new mass or new cantata, I say this is the hardest music I have ever had to learn. And then afterward, the more I plug away at it, if not easy exactly, it becomes much less difficult and certainly very, very enjoyable–enjoyable ever more! =]

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Doesn’t sound disjointed at all, Lynn. I’m nodding my head with your every word. Believing great things for you, Lynn… Love to you.

      Reply
  11. Lynn D. Morrissey

    And yes, I love the meaning of comfort: with strength. And courage is with heart! We do need to take heart to do the hard, com-HIS-fort!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I know, right? Loving the Latin definition. It’s been a game-changer for me.

      Reply
  12. Amy Jung

    Thank you for encouraging and convicting me today!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      You are so welcome, Amy. Always a joy to see your beautiful smile in the comment box.

      Reply
  13. Elise

    Jennifer– Thank you so much for persevering to share Christ through your life! I recently thought and felt similar things after only finishing my first eBook… I can only imagine this labor of love! Christ IS already glorified through your faithfulness, and I look forward to reading your book to see even more specific ways He shines through your story. Thank you for all the sacrifice and cross-bearing to share more Love in this world. It is always needed.

    Many Blessings, sister!
    Elise

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Elise, Thank you for your encouragement. That means so much to me. Tell me more about your eBook!

      Reply
  14. Pam Cason

    What a post.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Thanks for being here, Pam.

      Reply
  15. Erica {let why lead}

    This is beautiful, Jennifer. Thank you. I want to be quick to say “send me,” too, although I’m not sure I always am. Thanks for getting me to think.

    I’m new here and just wanted to say I’m excited to join the community! I hope to participate soon in #tellhisstory. Best wishes!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’m so glad you’ve come by, Erica, and I hope that you’ll participate in #TellHisStory. The linky goes lives at midnight, and it will be up through the weekend. Or come back any week that works for you. It’s a great community of encouragers.

      Reply
  16. Sylv_R

    Hm, this seems to strike a nerve in me. Now I have to go and have a big think…
    Thank you, Jennifer.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’d love to hear what happened in your big think. Drop me a line when you think of it. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Karen Mosteller

    Jennifer, You lay open my soul and read every line. Remarkable. God Be Praised. #sistersinChrist #gloryglow #forwardinfaith

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      With you, Karen. God be praised. #sistersinChrist

      Reply
  18. Marie L.

    So unbelievably convicted. Thank you, and God bless you!

    Reply

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