Right now is a season of harvest. That’s what I keep telling myself.
It seems strange, to start a blog post like this: here’s another book I wrote. As if I am pulling these out of the oven and sliding them onto the cooling rack with only a flick of the wrist.
Far from it. This book is one I’ve been working on for years. It was only a twist of timing that it would come out now.
But when I imagine you reading (and I do follow that writing advice, picturing who you might be, trying to reach where you are) I can hear your voice.
Because I’ve heard the ones who have asked, or emailed, or commented here: how did you do this? How do I make my dream a reality, too? Turn my hope into a baby, my idea into a business, or my story into a book?
Secretly, I hear the question you’re asking underneath. Because I ask it, too.
Is it going to happen for me? Or am I always going to feel like everyone’s racing ahead and I’ll be left behind?
Here’s what I would tell you. (Here’s what I remind myself.)
It’s not about competition. It’s not even about creativity or determination or hard work.
It’s about calling.
God created you and calls you to give your life in particular ways. To people, places, relationships, work, service, causes, or communities. Your callings are likely multiple, evolving, and surprising.
Your vocation is your own. Even though your relationships and work involve others, even if I wish that I could do what you’re doing, only you can live out the ways that God has called you.
Life is not a zero-sum game. What you have does not necessarily detract from what another has—their marriage, job, family, etc. The opposite is equally true.
Because it’s about your calling. And their callings. Which are unique and particular.
Allow me to share one example I know well. Despite what some of us suspect, there are not a finite number of babies in the world. I had to tell myself this a million times while we were hoping and praying for one of our own.
Just because it seemed like everyone I knew was getting pregnant didn’t mean they snatched up the baby I was meant to have and now there were none left.
I knew motherhood was one of my callings. My heart longed for a child. Our marriage was ready to grow its love. I knew I had some gifts to bring to the work of parenting (and I trusted that God would help me grow into capacities where I felt ill-equipped). I saw how raising a family would contribute to the common good. I had dreamed of becoming a mother since I was a child.
All markers of a vocation, right?
Except I had to wait. Much longer than I wanted.
And parenthood turned out to be hard. Much harder than I wanted.
But callings are like that, too. They happen on God’s time, not ours. They involve sacrifice and suffering. And they are uniquely our own.
I can only be a mother to the children I’ve been given. I can only do the work I’ve been called to do.
(Even if—and this is the honest truth, please do not laugh—the secret unfulfilled desire of my heart is to become a folk singer-songwriter. Six stumbling months of guitar lessons and a flatly-okayish voice made it clear this will never be my call.)
So this new book is a gift I’ve been given, from a calling I received. It’s a gift I share with you, hoping it will do some good in the world. My prayer is that it will strengthen you for your own callings—the love and work God has given you to offer back to others.
What’s more, this book is far from the work of my hands alone. I researched it for years in my work with the Collegeville Institute Seminars. Half the resources come from composers, poets, and other writers whose beautiful words on vocation were tucked in hymnals, prayer books, poetry collections, and even corners of the Internet. You can learn more about the book here.
Creative collaborative work affirms everything I know about vocation: that mine is woven into yours, for the good of others. Each of us brings our particular callings to share with each other, and new creations are birthed together.
So this is a season of harvest, where I’m gathering what I’ve done and sharing it with you.
Here’s a taste of what To Bless Our Callings offers—a prayer for all of us who love words, with my gratitude to you for continuing to read my own.
A Prayer for Writers and Communicators
God of the word,
you spoke and all things came into being.
Bless all who work with words—
who write, speak, read,
edit, report, and translate.
Guide their minds with your wisdom.
Inspire the work of their hands.
Let your beauty and truth
speak through the words they use,
the ideas they shape,
and the lives they touch.
May all of us who write, read, speak, or listen each day
be mindful of the power of words—
to build up or tear down,
to create or destroy,
to heal or to wound,
to unite or to divide.
Bless those whom you call to work through words:
to shine light into darkness,
to share what is hidden,
to make known what is true.
We ask this in the name of Jesus your Son,
the Word who was from the beginning.
Copyright © 2017 Laura Kelly Fanucci
To Bless Our Callings: Prayers, Poems, and Hymns to Celebrate Vocation
(Wipf & Stock)
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If you want to learn more about our work on vocation, subscribe to my newsletter here. I’ll send one out tonight to tell about our project, share another prayer from the book (for parents), and give you a coupon code for 40% off!