What comes out when you are writing is like a sign on a trail after you have already left the trailhead. You likely start out examining a map on an adventure, whether it be a GPS, or just a paper map. But eventually, you come to a sign or mile marker that confirms that you are on the right path.
Today I hit such a marker, showing me that I was on track.
I am still recovering from being sick, but had projects to work on. And yet, although I was feeling physically not the best, my writing was fulfilling.
Why? Because I enjoyed writing the materials I was working on. I believe in the integrity of the organizations that requested them, and believe with all my heart that I did what I was called to do today.
So, in addition to knowing if you are on the right path, writing helps you know whether you are even on the right mountain. Taking out the metaphors, writing not only helps me gage whether I’m going the right direction, but it also helps me know if I’m living in my purpose or if I’m just getting by to earn a paycheck.
Not that there’s anything wrong with working to earn a paycheck—for a time. But, I spent far too many years in a place that wasn’t a match for me. I felt mislead in the arrangement and the level of autonomy didn’t match the job title. Because I believed in the organization as a whole, I stayed. And, I know I brought good there while I was there.
But now, I can look back, reading my writing and journaling from those years, being exhausted, discouraged and lacking peace for such a long time, wishing I would have listened to myself and been proactive to change my direction sooner. I think if I would have tried to move and if nothing had come up, I would not have wondered if I did the right thing in staying.
Being flexible with changing direction is one of the reasons I am a freelancer now. No, I don’t always have the best projects, but if they aren’t right for me, I don’t have to accept them again.
I trust my instincts much more now, and listen less to what people think is best for me based on “conventional” wisdom.
Whispers like, “Don’t you want a steady job again?” Maybe, if it were the right one…and I do keep my eyes and ears open…but in the last three years, I haven’t seen the right one, and wonderful freelance projects have come my way.
I trust where God leads me in my journaling, and I trust my personal writing. I observe how words line up and how patterns emerge. I ask for Him to guide my steps, give me direction, to provide confirmation of that direction and to bring the projects for the money we need. I also ask for faith to wait on the answers I don’t get—because I believe that a unclear answer is a no, especially if you have tried to open a door and it is shut.
What about you? Does writing help you gage direction? What questions do you ask yourself as you try to gage your direction? When do you know to stay the course and how do you know to shift your sails?
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