We have an excellent guest post today from Lutheran speaker, blogger, and pod-caster extraordinaire, Angie Wagner. One of her favorite topics is vocation (!), and her post today is ever-timely for us writers: Wild Ideas and the Steady Hand of Vocation. Check it (and her website) out!
Wild Ideas and the Steady Hand of Vocation
By Angie Wagner
I’m an over-analyzer. Always have been. Of course some weeks are worse than others and I’m coming out of one right now.
It always hits strong when money is especially tight. “What could I be doing to provide more for my family?” the question echoes in my head. As a household manager/mother/wife/substitute teacher/seasonal farm-worker/blogger/pod-caster/seminary student I’m not exactly bringing home the bacon. My schedule is built this way so I can be available to my family and self-employed husband. Meanwhile I’ve found a passion for ministry and I am seeking ways to serve, including getting my masters to be a deaconess. We will see if that leads to employment or not, but if I don’t pursue it I won’t be able to live with the regret.
But, as a writer and a lover of planning and idea development, I’m always adding to my “possibilities” list. It’s long and elaborate. Oh, with unlimited funds what I could do! What we might create! Enter my analyst’s tendencies and I can spend a weekend dreaming and wondering if I should be diving into a different project that may or may not reach more people or maybe earn me some money to help cover the expanding bills that come with raising a family.
There is a Cycle
Obviously those two elements—financial daydreaming and the Gospel—don’t usually converge. This is where guilt and confusion take their place in the driver’s seat of my brain. The cycle is awfully predictable and you’d think I’d be able to see it coming down the road.
Instead I might waste a few days or a week on this tortuous process. Should I be doing something else? Is what I’m doing enough for my family? Am I honoring my vocation? Maybe the internet has some suggestions.
(Insert eye-rolling here. That rabbit hole is never-ending.)
Call it What it is
Let’s call this what it is. Satan is having a heyday with me and loves how much time I wasted these last few days! I HAVE projects I should be working on. I HAVE goals, a plan, and husband supportive of the current state of affairs. Yet here I am getting very little done. Not walking in the works already prepared for me, but instead looking inward for a better way. Looking for an answer that comes from my own wishful thinking and not from reality or the trust I’ve found in my heavenly Father.
Maybe my writing peers are independently wealthy and don’t ever get stuck in these ruts. Maybe everyone else is able to keep the tension between financial burden and vocation in perfect balance with little anxiety about how the bills are going to get paid. But for me, and maybe a few others, we struggle with assurance that what we are doing today is what God would have us doing today.
I need Him to walk up behind me and place His confident hand on my shoulder and say, “I have placed you here today to serve in these ways. Do them boldly.”
This is why vocation is my favorite thing to write and speak about. It’s the only thing that can pull me down from these erratic branches I climb out on and set me back on the ground.
Vocation asks: Where has God set me today? What are the resources at my disposal and the people in my path who need served? The answers to these questions at the start of my day are what direct my to-do list. It doesn’t mean long term planning is unnecessary, but the immediate answers to these questions inform any 5-year plans I might want to make.
Satan sets countless temptations before me as an author, especially with the endless “opportunities” the web offers. Thankfully I have God’s Word and instruction, the doctrine of vocation, and a supportive family to remind me where I am needed most. God’s steady hand guides me, wild eccentric ideas and all, and reassures me He has set me in this place for a time such as this. It’s probably not as bright and shiny as my possibility list, but I know from experience it as meaningful and powerful as I could ever envision.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Angie Wagner is all about how our faithful God is with us in our everyday ordinary lives. She and her husband are raising their 3 kids in rural central IL, where she manages the family and manages to write after the kids go to bed. Angie is currently an MAR student at American Lutheran Theological Seminary and produces a blog and podcast called She Finds Truth. Find her content—and learn what happened when her house fell down—at SheFindsTruth.com.