It is time to call it out.

It is time to speak the words.

You have gone on the journey of discovery and now you know that the song you herd is unmistakable.

It's knocking on the door of a humble cottage and discovering, when it is opened, that not only is this the most beautiful home you've ever been in -- but it's yours. You know every inch of it, every nook and cranny, every bit of dust on the mantel, because it is your own.

Your fingers fit perfectly around the brush. You find yourself singing a song you always knew but didn't know you knew, you know?

And you know now that if you try to stuff it down, it will not work.

You have discovered the name of the thing.

And it is time to speak the words.

It is time to say it out loud.

If you don't, you know it will be lost.

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You are living in fear of it fading away, melting from between your frightened fingertips like an icicle at springtime, like cotton candy in the rain.

But you are afraid for others to know it. What if you have been wrong? What if you cannot follow through? What if you look like a fool?

The time for sleeping is past. The time for mourning is over. Morning has come, and we are home, and we have adventured out on a quest in the broad light of day, and whether the wicked know it or not, they soon will, so why not announce yourself?

Naming gives you courage.

To declare what you have seen and heard from God -- that is power.

And it makes it more real.

The minute I start saying the things -- I'm going to graduate school. I'm an opera singer. I'm a writer -- the very moment, they suddenly crystallize and harden.

My urge to keep them in the dark is born from my urge to not be wrong. To make the right decision. When I verbalize things, I start to lock them in.

My mama says that when you say something out loud it becomes that much more real to us. Whenever I had a crush on a boy in high school and would tell someone about it, the affection instantly sprang to life off of the page.

Calling is not lived on a page or in theory or in our heads.

Vocation is when vision meets flesh. It's when the nails meet the hands of Jesus. It's when the thing that we have dreamed about hits the road in all its 3D touchability. With skin and nails and eyebrows and all the keratinous substances that make up humanity's extremities.

So let's name it. If only to ourselves. But let us say the words out loud, and not only in our hearts.

Let us speak them in the quiet of the early morning, as we sip our coffee or tea.

Let us murmur them to ourselves as we drive to work or school.

Let us declare them in our prayers before God.

Let us scrawl them wide in our journals -- the bigger the letters, the better for our courage.

There is power in saying it aloud. Once it leaves the confines of our hearts, it becomes more real. And you can own it and say, Yes, this is my calling. This is the vocation I choose to put skin on through the grace of Jesus Who helps me amen.

You don't even have to say it to a person yet -- though when you do that, it becomes even more real.

But say it out loud.

Don't be afraid of it, darlings. You have been called. This belongs to you because it is a gift.

It's not a shoe that is too big. It's not breakable. Calling has a little more hardiness than that; trust God to make it durable.

It will not melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. It will not turn from a coach into a pumpkin at the slightest provocation. Words will not make it curdle into lumps like old milk.

No -- words give it body, give it blood, give it a heartbeat. They feed it, they nourish it, they bank the fire. They touch its shoulder and wake it from its slight drowsiness.

Calling does not have stage fright. It will not vanish at the merest whisper of a spotlight.

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So name it.

Don't be afraid to give it a name, even if it's only a name between you and it and the God Who made both of you.

But speak the words aloud. It cannot afford to be a theory only.

It deserves more than that.

So give it a name. Give it breath, and watch to see how it inhales the breath of God as He exhales over it -- using your own lungs.

Loan it some of your oxygen. Watch the speed with which it shoots up before you. Watch how hard it is to kill.

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If you verbalize it, calling will not kill you, and you will not kill it.

You will give each other life in this gorgeous kind of symbiosis.

Because you need each other -- you need it to be completely yourself, and it needs you to give it life and skin and a flush to its cheeks.

Do not allow your calling to be frail. Do not starve it. Feed it. It is your responsibility.

Encourage it. Love it. Hold its hands.

But first, before you can do any of that --

Name it.

It will not forget that you have done so.

It will thank you a thousand times over and again.

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