There is a certain grace that is required of all writers: a strength of character and a comfort with the gift that is inside us. To some it may seem like arrogance to take our thoughts and put them into writing we feel is worthy enough to be read by others. Who are we, really, to think that our words have merit and deserve to be preserved for future generations to see? Yet we remain writers, convinced of our giftedness and determined to spill our wisdom onto paper and into the virtual world.
There are many reasons people write, and perhaps I simply romanticize the process of writing too much. I know many write to sensationalize and sell a product, to tantalize and titillate our selfish senses, or to foist misguided ideas or even hatred upon itching ears willing to hear. There is a lot of empty writing in the world: writing that does nothing to raise the human spirit, but only serves to speak to the worst of who we are. But there is writing that speaks to weary souls thirsty for renewal: writing that is meant to raise us on the wings of lofty ideals and blessed hope. For those of us who have the hope of heaven within us, the difference is quite clear. But to the broken and lost of the world our words seem to be illusions created to make us feel good inside or a weapon of intolerance against those who wish to live their lives anyway they choose. Often, when we are confronted by those who have chosen to trade tradition and morality for individual rights and political correctness, we’re tempted to back down, to soften our words or to believe that they don’t deserve to have the impact they once had. How then do we continue as writers in this vast wasteland of confusion, personal preference and wrong thinking and living?
The first thing that we need to have is the courage of our conviction. We often think of courage as unwavering fearlessness in the face of danger. But courage is really determining that what is right and needed outweigh our fear and our weakness. In other words, even though we are afraid of failing or falling, we push forth and do what is right anyway. As believers in the One who pressed on to take the bloody beatings and endure the cruelty of the cross, we must look within to see the spark that God has placed within us and fan it into flame, a blazing fire of words that forge a spirit sword to cut into the hearts of the lost and the weary and perform sacred surgery to shape the new woman or the new man. It’s just too important to ignore, and we must answer the call within us to speak the words that will encourage and heal, admonish and rebuke, and renew and restore.
The second thing we need to have is the humility of our humanity. One of the greatest dangers of being a writer is thinking that our writing is something that we accomplish on our own. Indeed, some writing is of our own making; that is the kind of writing that goes forth into the soil of other lives but bears no fruit. It sows a bitter seed yielding an unsatisfying harvest that does nothing to nourish or meet any need. But the writing that comes from a deeper source, from an eternal river that flows out from our transformed hearts, is life-giving: it channels the power and presence of God into fertile hearts and brings forth the fruit of peace and patience, joy and determination, gentleness and self-controlled living. It connects the God who has spoken to us with the souls of those who are ripe for the harvest and ready for the reaping. It can accomplish this, not because of anything we bring, but only because of what God has placed within us and graced us to do for Him.
When I find I’m too tired to write, when I’ve become discouraged and disgusted with the wrong I see around me, and when I’ve begun to doubt myself as a writer, I find myself coming back to these two eternal truths time and time again. I believe in the power of my writing and ground myself in the source of that power. I take hold of the gift and then release it with all the joy and fervor of a man sold out to the certainty that God can take one such as me and speak His wonderful words through my humanity and my spirit. It’s a truly liberating and satisfying experience – devoid of arrogance, but full of humility and the assurance that being a part of the ever-flowing river of God’s eternal voice can bring.
If He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5), there is great comfort and great elation in being connected to the source of our life and the power of our giftedness as writers. We share in the tremendous privilege and the awesome responsibility to use our words in His name – to heal and to inspire and bring that same life-giving grace to others who are ready to receive. As you sit down today with pen in hand or keyboard at the ready, remember that you have the courage of your conviction and the humility of your humanity to serve as the fuel to stoke the fire of your spirit and pour forth into speech the words that will bring love and life to others. God bless!