Aside from my current full-length inspirational nonfic and women's fic projects, I've been trying out different writing short things in different genres lately, just to see what I can do and what I like.
I've dabbled in doing interviews for an online magazine, informative articles, sci-fi, poetry, and now, as of last night, a creepy short story. I didn't mean to do it. It just . . . happened. Like, it has a good message, but it's so creepy it creeps me out. Which doesn't say much because I get creeped out easily. Lisa Mangum can tell you that.
But it's good. Surprisingly. good.
But I don't want to write creepy things.
But I've discovered I am good at it.
I've thought about my experience and have asked myself a question: If this is good, then shouldn't I write more of the same genre? I mean, if I discover I am good at something, isn't there some moral obligation to pursue it?
And the answer I've come to is a resounding "no".
I am allllllll for working outside our comfort zone. That's where growth is.
And yes, we are told not to bury our talents.
But, we are not told to take every talent we have and use it in every way we can.
Just as we pick and choose what is good, better, and best in our lives, I think we should do the same with our talents and what we do with them.
And just because we can do something well does not mean we have to do it often. Or at all if it's not healthy for you.
I'm not saying writing creepy things isn't good or healthy. For some, like Mercedes Murdock Yardley, who is a lovely, lovely soul, it is one of the best ways she uses one of her best talents and it fills her and others.
I'm saying that each person is different. What is best for Mercedes makes me need to wear Depends.
What I'm saying is that we shouldn't feel obligated to use the gifts and talents we have in ways that do not make us healhy or happy.
If you have a gift of working with small children but you don't love doing it, then don't do it.
If you have a gift for counseling others but you don't want to be a therapist, don't do it.
If you have a gift for baking but you don't love being in the kitchen all day, don't do it all day.
Yesssssss, I believe we should reach outside of our comfort zones and discover gifts and talents and push ourselves and grow. And yesssss I believe God will ask us to do some things we don't want to do. And yessss I believe that God has given us gifts and talents to discover and use for His glory.
BUT, we are stewards of our time and energy. And it is not a sin to discover/recognize we are good at something we don't particularly enjoy doing and choose not to do.
I've always jokingly told my kids, "Use your powers for good."
If what is in my power isn't good for me or others, I don't have to use it that way.
I think God has given every one of us more talents and gifts than we can nurture and perfect in our lives. He did this, I believe, to allow us to choose the gifts we love and use them for good and to bring us joy, and for His purposes.
Yesssss, there are times God will ask us to use our gifts for things that will be difficult or we might not enjoy. He has His reasons.
But He also expects us to be good stewards of our time and talents. Times and seasons. Choices and accountability. And joy.
So often we focus on alllll the things we can't do well that I think this issue of what to do with alllll the things we can do well gets overlooked.
And lemme just say, it's okay to acknowledge you have talents and gifts and skills and be grateful for them. That is not arrogance or pride. Arrogance or pride is when you use your talents, gifts, and skills to make yourself feel better than others, or use it in any way to compare yourself with others. (insert EZT Benson talk on pride here.)
It is gratitude and love and joy to recognize the gifts we've been given and the things we can do. Humility isn't downplaying how awesome we are because humble people can't be really awesome, or heaven forbid, admit they are. Humility is recognizing where the awesomeness comes from and partnering with God when deciding what to do with it.
I discovered I am good at writing creepy things. This surprised me and even tickled me a bit. I mean, I wrote something REALLY COOL! And it's good. Creepy good. But I don't want to do it more. I've talked with God about it, and after a good conversation with HIm, I'm gonna take this certain talent for this genre, acknowledge it, tell it it's been fun, pat its head, and tuck it into bed. God's good with it and so am I.
Now onto more writing about things that don't make me want to wet the bed.
(Of course, I am going to submit my creepy short story to an online magazine. I mean, just because I don't want to write more doesn't mean I'm going to waste what I've done. That's like realizing you don't love baking after baking a batch of delicious cookies so you don't eat the cookies you just made. Makes no sense.)