As this semester of school is winding down, I’ve found myself reevaluating what I thought I wanted to do with my life. For the last year, my mind has been focused on becoming a college professor, because I want to inspire people the way my professors have inspired me. I want to help people see things in new ways and pull apart issues and look deeper than just the surface, and I thought “what better place than a college classroom is there to do that? After all, that’s where I was inspired! Why not follow in the steps of my teachers?”
I honestly thought I wanted to be a professor. In fact, my dream job was to become a college professor and write professionally on the side. So many people told me that it was a perfect fit for me, and I was really fired up about going to school. But this semester has been a royal punch in the face. My workload is insane (as of right now, I have to start writing a 7-page rough draft, revise another paper, study for a Spanish final, read a chapter in my Sociolinguistics book, do my grammar homework, and read 50+ pages in a novel by Friday – on top of working 26 hours at my job!), and my professors (while helpful) have been consistently late in returning graded work (which is infuriating!). And even though I have enjoyed (most of) my classes, I’ve realized that the academic world is not where I want to be. Yes, I have learned a lot, and yes, I love to learn – but I don’t want to be in school forever! And being a college professor would mean exactly that. I would be swamped with papers to grade, books to read, people to talk to, chaos to control, and I would find myself stretched so thin that, by the end of the day, I wouldn’t have time for me. I wouldn’t have time to do the things that I truly want to do. And I know this will happen, because that’s exactly what’s happening now!
And then it hit me – I never wanted to be a college professor. I only thought I did because I saw the greatness of joy that comes from being the one to inspire people. I saw the passion my professors had and how they had the power to change the lives of their students, and I thought that the best way for me to inspire others was to copy the ones who inspired me. But that was my mistake. By trying to follow in the footsteps of those who came before me, I was denying myself the chance to carve out my own path and be the man God wants me to be. And the moment that clicked in my head, suddenly everything made sense.
I have not been called to teach a room full of college students.
I have been called to write.
I firmly believe with all of my heart that writing is my strongest God-given gift, but I didn’t realize that until these last few weeks. I’ve always loved to write – anyone who has been around me or read my work knows this – and I’ve always maintained the position that, whatever career path I choose, I must have the time and energy to write. It is my deepest passion. When I write, I feel at peace. When I don’t, I feel out of sync with myself. It’s as if I’m denying a part of myself to live, thus keeping the rest of myself from enjoying life to its fullest. Honestly, I think that’s part of the reason why this semester has been so stressful for me – I just haven’t had the time/energy to sit down and write! And that has been slowly eating away at me. It bothers me to no end when I want to write but can’t, and that is why I know I cannot be in a profession that demands so much time and energy that I can’t even properly express myself through words.
But self-expression is not the only reason I love to write.
I love to write because my words actually inspire people.
Earlier this year, someone I had just met (and who is now a dear friend) said to me, “your words mean something. Never forget that.” I thanked her, of course, but I didn’t really understand the power behind her words until just a few days ago. It’s one thing for someone to say “Oh! You’re such a great writer!” But it’s another thing entirely to be told that what you write, that what you feel in your heart and let pour onto page actually means something to someone… I could barely wrap my head around it! But when I finally did realize this, I understood that I don’t have to be in a classroom to inspire people. I don’t have to sit though hours of lectures and schoolwork.
All I have to do is open my heart and write.
So, does this mean I’m going to pursue a full-time writing career? Not exactly. I still have student loans that I’m sure the government will want paid in full shortly after I graduate, and I know that one cannot become a great writer/novelist overnight (though I do plan on becoming a published author). Until that time, though, I need a steady job that will generate enough income for me to stand on my own two feet and become financially stable before I dare to try my luck as a fledgling author. I’ve already got a few things in mind, and I’ve been talking with people to see what my options are, but no matter what I know one thing for certain.
I am a writer. First and foremost. Whatever happens, I will continue to write, and I will continue to write because my words mean something to people, because they mean something to me. I believe the Lord has placed this on my heart for a reason, and I will strive to the best of my ability to fulfill this calling.
And now I feel compelled to ask the you this:
What have you been called to do? Are you heading down the right path, or have you realized that what you’re doing isn’t what you’ve been called to do? We all have our gifts, and we have all been called to serve and live our lives in different ways. I realize, though, that you probably have a life that demands attention and resists change. I have been lucky enough to realize my calling early on in my life. But it is never too late to answer your calling, no matter your age or circumstance.
Whether you see it or not, God has blessed you with a gift; if you let Him, He can help it to bloom and grow, and I promise you that you will be blessed beyond measure. All you have to do is have faith in Him and know that, through Him, you are capable of anything.
“C’mon, honey, we’re almost there!” Panic cracked in his voice as he tried to stay calm. “You can do it, Love – just hold on!” Her nails dug into his hand as her fingers curled with pain, but still he held on tight.
An unearthly scream pierced the room, vibrating the thatched roof above their heads.