After being with so many writers at the summer conference last week, I’ve pondered many things. Being a writer and responding to His leading raises a lot of emotions, doesn’t it? I appreciated how many of the speakers talked about the feelings we might have as writers. Sometimes we feel like we are “not enough.” Sometimes we wrestle with doubts or feel intimidated by the task before us. (I have 1 Chronicles 28:20 posted near my desk as a reminder not to be frightened by the size of the task, but instead to be strong and courageous and get to work because the Lord my God is with me, and He will help me.) We all have various motives for writing, but as believers, we write in response to His calling on our lives. We write as an offering to Him.
Many people I met last week write as an expression of who they are, and because they love to write. I’m sure some write with the hope of publication and some income. Then there’s a whole industry to try to comprehend … with a huge learning curve. Deadlines and improving our craft become vital. Some writers in this world write to make a name for themselves, but as Christians we ultimately write to magnify the name of Jesus, not for our own fame.
We are His Creation, and our identity is found in Christ. I pray that we never get lost in finding our place in the world or become too caught up in how to succeed in this industry. Yes, we have plenty to learn. But “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared forehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV). A text just arrived from my friend with a precious reminder: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2
My prayer is to never lose sight of writing as a way to honor and glorify the Lord, to somehow share His love and grace with a world that needs Him. Rather than feeling stress and pressure to perform well, I pray that I can abide in Him and that writing flows from abiding in the True Vine, my source of life and inspiration. Just as the cherry tomatoes grow and ripen on the vines of the sprawling plant in my garden, I pray that any fruit that comes from my efforts reflects the Vine. The power comes from Christ.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 (ESV)
While living in China years ago, I heard a tape of Jill Briscoe talking about how her writing only had power when it came from a heart already worshipping the Savior when she picked up the pen. Oh, Father, please help me to begin my days in worship, finding my identity and hope in You. Help me not to splash the page with ink before I have found myself hidden in You.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)