Are You Willing to Commit to Joy?

“…in thy presence is fulness of joy…” Psalm 16:11


Recently, I was blessed to attend a conference for Christian writers—writers hungry to soak up wisdom and encouragement from professionals in the craft. Authors, agents, publishers and mentors from all levels of the literary field flew to Southern California to do just that—impart wisdom and encouragement to those wrestling with the ministry of words.

"Claim your gift, then commit to it."

Isn’t that advice for all of us who are children of the Creator of the universe, the giver of all gifts?

Additional points we were challenged to consider:
Do you have a passion for (your gift)?
Does it (exercising your gift) bring you joy?
Are others inspired/encouraged by your (expression of the) gift)?

In my case, an actual professional author whom I had grown to admire and respect, reviewed some of my work and said I wrote well. It was the push I needed to take my gift seriously.

Then the real issue with my relationship to writing called me out: Are you willing to commit? No longer could I use the excuse of “I can’t.” It’s a choice between “I will” or “I won’t.” Am I willing to do whatever it might take—to learn, to labor, to sacrifice—all to walk worthy of my gift?

Committing to the craft of writing, or any other calling, made me think about my life as a Christian. I am committed to a person—Christ Jesus. God is not passive, but dynamic, and requires my willingness to commit my life to knowing and loving Him. My salvation was a gift earned by Jesus and, like my gift to create story, I must work out my own salvation that God is working in me. Whether to be a Christian—a God-given and Christ-sacrificed atonement that pursues me, or to be a writer—a God-given talent and personal desire to pursue, my willingness is required in the relationship.

To be counted worthy of doing anything well requires dedication to learning and growing. We must be willing to labor, work it out, and sacrifice for the namesake of the call.

Pursuit of our gifts can, and often does, become me focused. Instead of using our gift to bless others, their acceptance, acknowledgement, and accolades can overtake us. Soon our only joy is found in what others think.

It’s not uncommon to fall into this same trap as a Christian. But, our defining value is rooted in who Christ is and what God thinks. To know the Lord by studying His words, to love and live like Christ, to labor in prayer and put others first requires my willingness to give up the need for approval from others, and the nagging notion that I must earn God’s love. He has put His salvation in me. The question becomes, am I willing to work it out?

My passion for Jesus beckons me to write. My soul seeks His attention and my desire longs to draw attention to Him. Joy overflows when I am smack dab in the middle of my gifts—writing for Him, with Him and about Him. In His presence is fullness of joy.

What is your passion? Are you single-minded in your pursuit of that passion or are you being tossed between two conflicting opinions?

Commit your will to work out the gift God is working in you. Joy is abundant there.

“Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant.” Galatians 1:10

By Dana Lange