Monday, September 1, 2014

And Then Comes Writing

This is an article I wrote for my sister's writing newsletter back in May. It is a little testimony of my writing journey and where God has led me in it thus far.

How much does a writer need to write to become well-equipped? If you research the question, you will find various opinions. But do we need these opinions to answer our question, as Christian writers?

My sister, Rachel, who is more of a writer than I
As a young teen, writing was more than my passion. I wrote every spare minute, thought about it, talked about it, and longed to do it. If a friend did not write, I had a difficult time talking with them and finding "common ground." Looking back, it is easy to see that writing had become my obsession. It was then that God graciously led me to lay down the pen so I could refocus my purpose in writing. Now, almost ten years and many silent writing days later, God has given me back the pen, but the place it takes in my life is drastically different than before.

Though writing is a part of my life, writing is not "my life." I am a Christian, daughter, music teacher and arranger, kitchen cleaner, and part of my family's musicministry. Because of this, I cannot just pick up and write whenever I feel the writing "mood" come along. Instead, there are several things I must check.

1) Have I spent time with God?
"My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:11-12)
If God's Word is to be "more than my necessary food" then surely it must be more necessary than my writing time! Writing should never come before I have had adequate devotion/quiet time with God. If I neglect reading and studying God's Word, how can I expect to write solid, Christian books?

2) Am I actively seeking God?
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
Added to reading and studying God's Word, I should be seeking God and His direction for my writing. "Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart." (Psalms 119:2) Whole-heartedly following after God means that I am daily surrendering my will to His. It means that I am sensitive to what He is convicting me to do -- if He says to toss out my "pet story," then I must toss it; if He says to change directions, I must change; if He says to stop writing, yes, I must stop. My all must be fully laid on His altar and I must trust that He knows best.

3) Have I neglected others?
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." (Philippians 2:4)
As much as I would like to convince myself that writing is "looking out for the things of others," (after all, what about those who need to read this?) I know that when I write, I am tempted to ignore the needs of those closest to me.  If my family has a need, my writing should always be set aside. Better than that, I should be sure that I have fulfilled all of my responsibilities before I even begin to write. If I am "stealing time" from others so that I can write, I will not get the fulfillment and joy in writing that God would have me to receive.

4) Now can I write?
When should I fit writing into my schedule? If I follow the first three points, will I even have time in a day to write? There are many days when my brain is just reeling to write. However, if my devotions are unfinished, dishes unwashed, house a wreck, and my family needs me, my writing must be placed last. And many days, "last" means "not at all." Though this sounds like a pitiful schedule for a writer, it is a guilt-free schedule! I can sit down and write without the nagging thought of, "I really should be cooking but . . ." And on those days, when I actually do have time to write guilt-free, the Lord gives me such peace and productivity that I would not exchange for even the most rigid writing schedule.

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