Some days you wake up ready to create. You rise and shine and sparkle all toward calling; you are ready to pursue your vocation, to use your voice, to do. your. thing. You feel an endless well of capacity (I think of the Italian word capace) and joy and freedom, and you embrace your next right thing with hope and readiness.
Other days you awake and feel bone-dry.
You don't know why, but you do know that you simply cannot summon up the energy to do anything. Or you can, but the last thing you want to do is follow calling.
Calling feels like too much work. And we're tired here, party people.
There have been many days when I walked into a practice room or stood in front of my bedroom mirror and simply could not get my voice to do what I wanted. That is not the same thing. What I'm talking about the days that I just can't even seem to summon the energy to sing. When everything sounds better than singing.
It feels like the well has gone dry.
Sometimes when I've written a lot, I feel as though I've run out of words. Quite frankly, it feels like that to write this now. And after audition season this past spring, your girl Sara B. needed a MINUTE to just not sing.
Sometimes those moments feel like you'll never create again.
Depression and despair can also sap your life-glow and your enthusiasm and your desire. And sometimes you just feel dry and you simply cannot make yourself make the calling come out of you. You're trying to turn the knob of the faucet so that calling-joy comes out your pores like it usually does, but you aren't even getting a drip.
It happens when we go through a big transition, when we experience loss, and sometimes even when we experience success. It happens for reasons that are completely invisible to us: we only know that somehow calling feels like it's not even there.
The well has gone dry.
What do we do when that happens? How are we to keep creating, to keep walking, to keep singing the song we are given to sing?
My favorite words about this are ones that Kendra Adachi wrote on her hilarious blog The Lazy Genius Collective. She wrote to creators who had just gone through a big change and felt like they wouldn't create again. "It will come back," she said. Such simple words. They landed in the soft flesh of my heart and have grown to strengthen me.
It will come back.
When your calling seems to evade you, when you feel dry, that you simply cannot squeeze out a drop more of the work God has given you to do: it will come back.
It doesn't mean that calling has abandoned you, that God has taken it away. I am reminded of the words of Thomas a Kempis:
The great saints and ancient prophets frequently experienced the alternation of up and down, joy and sorrow... If the great saints are exposed to such variations, we who are poor and weak should not be discouraged if our spiritual life fails to be uniformly ecstatic. The Holy Spirit gives and takes according to His own divine purpose. I have never met anyone so religious and devout that He has not felt occasionally some withdrawing of grace.
- Thomas a Kempis, c. 1421, The Imitation of Christ
These words have encouraged me in my walk with Jesus, but they also make me think of calling. Everyone, even the great artists of the world -- van Gogh, Beethoven, Schubert, every opera singer I have ever loved -- they have all had moments when they felt they couldn't pain another stroke, write another note, sing another tone, let alone a phrase. This helps me when I find myself certain that I will never get better, or alarmed when I wonder why I lack faithfulness.
It isn't that I lack faithfulness. It's that this is a normal part of the process. We experience alternations of up and down, joy and sorrow, ecstasy and -- well, what feels like dearth. And more than a little bit like death, too.
And I don't know that we've ever stopped to consider this, but couldn't our enemy be the culprit?
Couldn't it be that we are beaten about the head by the one who is afraid of who we most fully are?
He is trying to dry us up by sapping our will. He senses what we will be when we put down roots into calling. He can smell it in the air.
And so he tries to stop us. I fully believe that the resistance I feel to practicing when I come home from work is the enemy hanging like a monkey on my back. He knows I was despairing and empty of hope when I stopped singing. He is trying to make me so again.
To him I say a resounding no. Actually, I sing it.
I am called by God, and He has given me ability, and I defy my enemy to shout down the gentle whisper I feel inside my ears and sternum and heart -- the whisper of the Holy Spirit and conviction and firm belief that I am made to be a singer.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
This is the real resistance.
Today, friends of mine, I want to offer you some hope.
If we are in Christ, the enemy stands not even a whisper of a chance against us. Just put up the slightest bit of resistance, and he will dash away like a scared critter.
He is, after all, a coward.
And if you find yourself feeling a little dry, or a lot dry -- do not fret, do not fear. It is part of the process. It is normal.
It will come back.
Never fear, beloved.
It will come back.
That's something we can hope in, because God doesn't take away calling. Hope is conviction and belief that something will come to pass. We can have a firm, strong belief that it will come back.
Because we are called.
It's that simple.