Sometimes I just can’t catch a break.
Sundays are wonderful days for writing. I have hours of free time where I can lock myself away in my room and write the stories that are impressed on my mind. Often there’s just one little problem—I can’t seem to get them out of my head and onto the paper. What sounded good before now sounds ridiculous as I stare at a blank page and blinking cursor. I find myself asking questions such as,
Doesn’t that character already exist?
What’s the point of this story?
Who would read it?
Veteran writers call this phenomenon fear, procrastination, or perfectionism. Rookies like me call it writer’s block, an illness that destroys would-be writers by attacking the core of their being. It makes them question everything: their abilities, their potential, even their calling. It stifles creativity and ends projects before they start. Even now, I find myself asking if the world really needs this article. The sickness is doing its job well.
Maybe you feel the same way about things besides writing. Perhaps you’re a student who believes God has given you skills in a certain area. You want to learn how to use them, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to grasp what you’re being taught. Or maybe you’ve graduated and are having trouble finding the perfect career for your skills. Maybe your dream job has turned into a nightmare, and you’re wondering why you quit flipping burgers to interpret financial records.
There are a couple of good reasons for why you might feel this way. One is that God may have other plans for you—other ways for you to use the gifts He’s given you. He’s trying to nudge you in the right direction for your life. The only thing to do then is accept His will and ask for guidance.
On the other hand, there is a great difference between a nudge from God and a nudge from your inner critic. Perhaps you are exactly where God wants you to be after all.
“Even though this is too hard, and I don’t want to go on?” you ask.
Yes. Especially because it’s too hard.
Take my writing, for example. I wish writing was easy, but the plain truth is that God has made very few things in life easy. If anyone could write, everyone would be a novelist. And where would the creativity and innovation in that be?
This is true about every other task we take on. Yes, because of humanity’s fall into sin, we must work harder than we were supposed to. But I don’t think that God ever meant for work to be too easy. If it were, there would be no joy in it, no sense of accomplishment when your efforts pay off. There is a lot of truth to the saying “No pain, no gain.” If something costs you nothing, you probably won’t treasure it like you should. God intended for people to be satisfied with their work, and part of that satisfaction comes from knowing that you did your very best.
Talent isn’t something that comes naturally. Even a piano prodigy must practice his skills every day if he wants to be the best performer. The only way to hone your talents into what God intended them to be is to practice. And as you practice, the obstacles that arise will be easier to overcome.
So, the next time you’re facing writer’s block or some other challenge that threatens to paralyze you, don’t assume that it’s a sign to quit. Keep praying and plodding ahead. That break could be just around the corner.