Listen to Your Soul: Do What You Love

What would happen if you listened to the voices in your soul instead of the untruths in your head?

Last night I opened an old book in search of something for my daughter to read. It’s a compilation of three of the best Brontё sisters stories, including my favorite, Jane Eyre.

Inside the cover, I found this forgotten inscription.

Heidi,

The Outstanding English Student WHS Class of ‘96. Thank you for your love of words!

The English Department

Though that was more than 20 years ago, I felt honored all over again. I’d went to school with a talented class but had been chosen for this designation. When I showed my husband the words, he asked me how the outstanding English student was chosen. I relayed my aptitude for language arts and literature classes; my academics were strong. I took all the AP courses offered by my high school’s English department, participated heavily in class with insightful observations of literary themes (green light symbolism in The Great Gatsby, anyone?), and wrote convincing essays. I earned high scores on my college entrance exam in both reading and language arts and passed the English AP exam to earn college credit.

But I hope, in the midst of those achievements, what they also saw was that my soul swims in the possibility and ideas of words.

All these years later, I’ve been pretty convinced I don’t “get to be” a writer. I don’t get a seat at that table. I shouldn’t spend too much time on writing, shouldn’t get my hopes up around it. That ship has sailed, I’m too old to do anything of significance with words now.

However, when I re-read the inscription from my favorite English teacher, they somehow gave me permission: YOU LOVE WORDS. DO WHAT YOU LOVE. If you’re good at it now or not. If you’re better or worse than other people doing it. If you have time or not. Follow your inner prompting and write in joy.

Maybe when we’re young and full of promise, the idea that “We can do anything!” permeates and propels us forward. We set off to merge our passions and talents into a career (which coincidentally for me had little to do with writing for many years) or the life we want to live.

As the years tick by, we let external forces repress that original internal joy in something. Validation of our efforts or the ever-too-long list of adult obligations become our driving forces.

All that promise and passion is set aside for reality.

Something we tell ourselves too often around middle age is that “X is passed for me now.”

I used to be a good piano player.

I used to go on runs.

I used to travel.

I used be crafty.

I used to eat healthy.

I used to get together with girlfriends.

I used to be happy.

Some of this is self-protective. We can not do everything in certain seasons–and when we try to, we go crazy or burn out.

Perhaps…though….we get a little too fond of this self-protection and let it bury us for years on end.

Maybe there comes a time when the clouds part a little, there’s a light at the end of the little kid years tunnel, when we can come up for air and we choose not to. The Netflix and chill routine at night is pretty darn tempting, the excuses are a mile long, and the voices in our heads speaking lies over us are loud. However, if we don’t return to what was placed inside us, we lose a connection to that part of our souls.

Pay attention to the longings of your soul. You were made for more than chores. You were made to be a co-creator with Christ. You were made to know Him in intimate ways and part of that relationship is found in your creative, adventurous, joyful inner being.

Whether it’s a pining to play your old instrument, experiment with art supplies sitting in the basement, speak the second language you learned in high school, sit down with a great novel like you used to, or get back to the ministry you started years ago…it’s never too late.

What if you remembered the joys of your earlier years and reclaimed them? What if you fought off lies spoken over you from childhood and followed God’s prompting in your heart? What if whatever anyone else is doing around you doesn’t diminish your call in the least? What if you’re not too old? Or young?

You are the only one that can answer these questions in your own life. But I’m guessing that you’ll be surprised at the connectivity you’ll feel to the deepest parts of you when you try doing what you’re called to do.

Do what you love, because you’re loved by the One that put those sacred promptings in your soul.

 

 

Comments

  1. Wonderful stuff Heidi, and a good reminder to listen to that quiet voice in you that wants to be heard, and get’s drowned out by all the “have-to’s” of life. It never stops and tomorrow can start NOW. Thanks for this!

  2. Cathy Wheeler says:

    Yes Heidi- thank you for this! Excellent for every person out there. Write! You will be a happier you. And we may be happier if we do the same. Check back with us in a few months on your progress, and ours!

  3. Lauren McMillen says:

    Heidi, Have you read the book, The Artist’s Way? It’s not necessarily a Christian book, although I did read it in a book club at church. I read it 15 year ago and still remember the takeaway message for me, which is remarkably similar to the message in your blog: about re-claiming and indulging in something creative, something that brings you joy every day! If you ever want to borrow it, I still have the book. Thanks for the reminder!

    https://www.amazon.com/Artists-Way-Spiritual-Higher-Creativity/dp/1585421464

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