I'm the writer who didn't know I was a writer until recently. Who has a Dictionary.com app on their phone and writes a blog and enters essay contests and doesn't know that they're a writer, you ask? Someone who isn't very self-aware, that's who. Or maybe someone who believed the lie that she didn't have anything to offer, at least nothing that anyone else would care to read. And that was me, for probably a large part of my life. But composing my thoughts and writing them down has forced me to really think about life, about myself, about God, about hopes, dreams, and even pain. It's forced me to be aware, to take it all in, the good and bad, and I'm better for it. As it turns out, I actually think better this way.
Here's a few things that writing has taught me:
1.) Writing is hard and requires discipline, skill, and perseverance.
And I have learned that I have none of these traits when left to my own devices. I have been kinda sorta good at many things in my life, just because it comes naturally, but I have never chosen to do the hard work and stick with any one of those things to become great. You name it--painting, tennis, running, playing pool, scrapbooking, photography, fitness--I've dabbled in it and quickly given up when the going gets tough. When it becomes more like work and less like fun. Honing a skill like writing will take lots of hard work, much failure, layers upon layers of learning and refining, and above all discipline and perseverance. God help me, because that goes against my very nature…
2.) Writing is powerful.
Words can change a life. They can change the world. They can build up or tear down. They can crush a spirit or catapult into a calling. I've realized that I don't just want to spew random verbiage out into the ether, but I want my words to mean something. I want them to count. Whether spoken or written, I want them to inspire, to encourage. To strengthen, and Lord willing, change lives. Words don't have to be verbose or intellectual or highly researched to make an impact, they simply have to be real and genuine, written from the heart.
3.) The more you read, the better you write.
The only problem is, I'm not a reader. Ironic, huh? I'm working on that, though. I've always wanted to be a reader, but I've always struggled in that area. I buy books, I check them out of the library, and they sit on my nightstand collecting dust until they're overdue. Did I also mention that I have a discipline problem? They go hand in hand. I also have a TV problem sometimes, and I'll usually choose to watch some stupid episode for an hour instead of read something that would help me grow as a person or writer. So there you have it. Less TV and more reading clearly needs to be on my agenda.
4.) Every voice matters, and everyone has something unique to offer.
Even though all the great things worth saying have probably been said already, no one has said it quite like you, simply because they're not you!! We all bring a very unique set of experiences, personality, talents and gifts to the roundtable of life, and because of that we all have something worth passing around. Maybe we both brought homemade bread to share, but I guarantee that yours won't taste the same as mine. In fact, yours will probably taste better, because frankly, I stink at baking bread. But just like every person matters, so does their voice.
5.) I don't have a prayer in this area if not for the Lord.
I think I've made a pretty good case against writing with all my "lack of's," wouldn't you think? But that's the awesome thing about the Lord--when we are weak, He is strong. When we step out beyond ourselves in faith, that's when we encounter the power and work of an Almighty God. For me, it's writing. It's being vulnerable and real, especially when it's very scary to do so. It's facing reality, being present, and translating that real life into words. It's remembering, the good and the bad, the pain of the past and the joy of the journey. It's everything I struggle with wrapped up in a neat little package called writing.
Where might the Lord be calling you to step out beyond yourself? We can spend so much of our lives being comfortable and safe that we miss the Living God. We rob Him of the opportunity to do wonderful and amazing things in our lives for His glory. Where are you weak today? That's where HE can be strong!
Thanks for reading, friends. Feel free to SHARE and pass it on!