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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Calling, Day 10: Hesitating Steps

Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;

I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I will be glad and exult in you;

I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Tell your story, and find your God. Feel the fabric of your life and find along its hem your story of gratitude, your song of praise. Pull threads of grace, and admire the Weaver at His loom. Who are we that He should be mindful?

* * * * *

Almost a year now I’ve been blogging: me, whom my husband has characterized as never meeting a new idea that I didn’t like. Why now the uncharacteristic stick-to-itiveness?


I don’t want to make calling sound like divine announcement falling legible from the sky. It hasn’t been that way for me at least, although I’m sure there are stories out there of people waking one morning to the resolute certainty of God’s will. Blogging began out of a need to pay attention to my own life, to resist the blurred activity of the everyday, to turn from patterns of spiritual consumption to a more active participation with God in my life. For several months, I’d been stuck with the nagging idea that, “I should write more,” but I didn’t initially consider blogging because of my longstanding reluctance toward it.

Blogging was too self-promoting.

Blogging was too public.

Blogging was too demanding.

Blogging begged followers.

(And for that matter, I couldn’t take a good picture to save my life.)

Eventually, I made the decision to blog, reasoning that it made a great choice for the writing to which I was feeling called. It could push me beyond my safe walls of invisibility. It could be a means of extending the influence God has granted me over the years. As a regular public practice, it could hold me accountable to the Spirit’s nudge to “write more.” And the fact that I couldn’t take good pictures was critical. There was no need to impress.

Blogging never began with the idea of writing a book. But here is where it has landed me. A year of steady, personal writing has deepened in me the desire to engage more with the movement of God in my life. I want to tell more of my story in addition to immersing myself more in the Scriptures. The book I want to write (am writing) lands me somewhere there in the middle of this: between personal memoir and theological exploration. For years, as I’ve been writing for “Today in the Word,” I’ve been learning the skills needed to open the Biblical text and communicate its relevance. But blogging has provided the piece needed for my own storytelling: it has moved me closer to my life, given me new language. I feel like a baby just learning to form words and piece together phrases, and blogging is a painful way to do this. I have no real desire to be so publicly clumsy and amateur. But here again, blogging is well-suited for wearing what is required of calling: the crude fabric of humility.

None of this, of course, did I know a year ago. It wasn’t as if I could anticipate why God wanted me to write more. Even now, thinking that I could and should write a book is about as fanciful a notion as princesses kissing would-be princes disguised as frogs. Publishing is a no fairy-tale business; it’s hard work rewarded most often with heartache.

But I believe all this fear and uncertainty is evidence of calling. We often begin with hesitating steps forward; we feel our way in the proverbial dark, unclear about the direction we’re taking, uncertain about the purpose behind the imperative. But what we follow at first is the smallest, faintest perception of a little something toward which God is nudging us. We heed an imperative, that small God movement which leads from behind. We move towards a relationship, a vocational decision, a spiritual practice, a ministry venture.

And it requires enormous risk.

We don’t get architectural blueprints or project timelines. We get lamplight for our feet. No more, no less.

I’m blogging. Some days I wish I weren’t.

I’m writing a book. Some days I wish I weren’t.

Many days I doubt that I’ve even heard God right.

Which is when I begin at the beginning, retrace the nudge, find the small threads of certainty.

And begin again.