When I first began to write for someone other than my journal, I was hungry. I read everything I could get my hands on. I followed other writers whom I respected, and read books about writing as well as some of the classics. I seemed to walk around in a writer’s daze, lifting subjects from the air I breathed. Scripture would come alive with illustrations and my scribbled ideas filled post-it notes, gum wrappers and grocery receipts – anything I could get my hands on before I lost a thought.
I never wanted to write a book as such. The concept of having a platform and marketing myself not only did not appeal to me, but actually seemed antithetical to Biblical teaching. I just could not convince myself that strategizing and posturing for success was what the Lord had in mind for me. I still feel this way.
A couple of years ago I attended a wonderful Revive Our Heart conference in Indianapolis that was preceded by a workshop on writing. Lore Ferguson Wilbert, one of the speakers, has long been my favorite blogger/writer. We all sat attentively in our classroom, pens poised for note taking, anticipating her words of encouragement and instruction. She smiled, leaned forward and in her most loving and gentle voice, spoke words that pierced my soul:
“The world does not need your words. The Word has already spoken.”
The room fell silent. This advice, I’m convinced, is the best and most godly I could have received . It has lessened the frazzle of having to have something to say all the time. And it’s also continued to challenge me to weigh my writing in the frame of the Kingdom.
“For we who live, are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:11
We all need to die to many things, moment by moment, so that His life is manifested in us. And it may be that this includes my writing. I need to die to thinking that God needs my words. He doesn’t. Can He use them? Yes, if he desires to, for only He can breathe life into them.
In recent years, I’ve found myself disconnecting from the preponderance of faith-based blogs, websites, etc. They litter my in-box and suck time away from better things. Maybe like me, you get drawn in and 30 minutes later you don’t know where the time went. Even worse, you can’t give an account of what you read that ensnared you.
Quality writing can still be found. But a search for that which compels us to know Him deeply, can be like fishing pieces of eggshell from a broken egg. It’s slippery. We are confused by a thousand voices that invite us into Christian culture. Offered are tasty things that are good and enjoyable but may be short on solid truth and mind renewal.
I’ve taken a break over the past several months to reassess my writing and its purpose. I will continue to plant the occasional seed of a post from time to time, realizing my place in the greater scheme of life. It may be that just cracking the door open again will bring on a flood of thoughts worth writing about. God is good that way. He knows when my heart is where it should be.
Everyone who writes will have hits and misses. But there is a challenge for all of us – those who write and those who feast upon it – to be discerning. Please don’t let my words or anyone else’s become a snare to you.