Walking Away from “Oughts”

Write from your Passion

by Christine Sine

by Diane Woodrow

In Christine Sine’s newsletter to those of us who write for Godspacelight she talked about writing into her passion. This is probably one of the bests prompts I’ve had in ages. I have tried writing what I ought to write. I even set up a Substack account to write about writing for well-being but it’s failed. Why? Because, much as I love free writing for my own well-being, I wasn’t writing into my passion. I was trying to be something I wasn’t. I even tried putting in a regular structure to when I blogged but I’m afraid that isn’t me. 

How often do we do that – try to be something we are not? Whether it is in what we write or what we do? I think of many times when I have done something – job or ministry – that is so significant but isn’t me. Too many times to remember. It could even be something I’m good at, have talents in, but it isn’t my passion. I suppose if one jargoned it up I could say it wasn’t “my calling.”

As I’ve got older I’ve learned more and more not just what my skills and talents are but what I am passionate about. I love people, though I need time alone with a book too. If I’m honest my perfect day would be to go for a dog walk, coffee and breakfast with a friend and have a rolling, random conversation that covers deep and meaning as well as trivial and silly; come home and write a blog piece on something that either the conversation has triggered or that was buzzing in my head; and finish the afternoon on the couch to have a read of a good book, then maybe some intense Netflix drama with a glass of red wine to finish the day. Somewhere in that I’d like to ponder writing a short story or flash fiction, though maybe never get to write it; I’d like to email someone I enjoy writing to; run a writing workshop where I encourage others to get the most from putting pen to paper; and probably free write or journal myself. 

But I can get into thinking I “ought to” write X, Y or Z; I “ought to” be connecting with a certain person or group and “ought to” be doing something with them. But that is my “oughts and shoulds” and not my passion coming through. 

I’ve just read Timothy Keller’s The Prodigal God in which he talks of the older brother attitude being the one that says “it’s not fair” when God doesn’t do as we think they should do because we were “good Christians”. My “ought to” comes, I think, from a place that is where I’ve decided what a  “good Christian” or a “good writer” would/should do. It isn’t coming from a place of my passion. 

I think for all of us there are times when we do not run with our passions for many reasons; a need to fit in, a fear of missing out, having been told by a parental figure that life isn’t meant to be about fun, or whatever. I’m sure we all, if we allow ourselves to really hear our hearts, can come up with many reasons why we don’t follow our passions in work, in writing, in church stuff, in life in general. All of them have some truth in them but remember the devil goes around like a angel of light. The one who keeps us away from our true selves does it subtly not overtly. If it was overtly we would notice and rise above it. But it is filled with limited truths and comes from people who do care for us and want the best for us. But it is still lies if it keeps us from our passions and our true selves. 

I’m grateful to all the healing that I’ve received so I can hear God clearly, hear my heart clearly, and be bold enough to step out into my passions. I’m also bold enough now to walk away from when I’ve try to do something that looks good but isn’t me; when I’ve done an “ought”. But this has come about because I know God loves me unconditionally all the time – not just when I get it right/write 🙂 

Summer practices bundle

This summer treat yourself to some supports for the hospitality, gardening, and wonder of the season. This bundle includes Gift of Wonder prayer cards for devotion time, the Godspacelight Community Cookbook for those summer guests and Christine’s book Digging Deeper: the Art of Contemplative Gardening.



You may also like

Leave a Comment