By Donna Wichelman
The writing life can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Most of us who’ve been writing for any length of time know the discouragement that comes from any number of places as we seek to put words on a page that mean something—anything—to an audience who will read them. But at times, we can be so consumed by the struggle that it becomes our worst enemy akin to idolatry.
Ann Voskamp writes in her book, Be the Gift, “…The only way to break the idols in your life is to accept what Jesus gives you freely that every other god demands but you can never achieve. Jesus comes to give you freely through His passion what every other god forces you to try to get through performance.”
Like almost anything we do, we can be so preoccupied with this passion we call writing that we turn it into an obsession—an idol—and miss the whole point about why we write. Or we can fall into a pattern of ignoring or neglecting other aspects of our Christian walk that give us balance and stability and connectedness with others and the Lord Himself.
It seems the key to keeping our writing in its rightful place must be in how we view our vocation—not as a god to be worshipped but as a form of worship centered on our Lord and Savior. That means surrendering our work each day to God.
Sometimes I forget to check in with God for what He wants to do with me. That’s why I wrote a maxim that sits on my desk to keep me in tune with Him. “Surrender each day to God! Ask permission for what He wants you to do with your writing and your day! And He will lead you to unexpected places and unimaginable destinations.”
The maxim applies to my writing and all other aspects of my days. Submitting my writing to God allows the Holy Spirit to give the words life and purpose. But if my focus is based on tunnel vision, I might miss the more important work that I’m supposed to do that day like attend to a sick family member or respond to the desperate need of a friend. Or perhaps He wants me to sit and be quiet with Him for a while to get perspective.
If God has called us to write, He will send our work soaring to unimaginable destinations, but it may not be the places you have envisioned. That’s another part of idol worship we need to put aside. As Christian writers, we need to recognize His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. They are superbly loftier than our own (Isaiah 55:9 – 13).
He knows what we need and how we need it better than we do. And He has it all planned out for our lives, which makes the destination based on the plans of any other god, including our self-adulation, pale in comparison. I have tried to do it on my own and suffered the consequences or settled on a lesser plan.
In recent weeks, the Battle Belongs by Christian music artist Phil Wickham has become a favorite song. It’s a reminder that the uphill battles we face along this writing journey are better fought on our knees than allowing them to devour us in doubt and fear and discouragement.
Taking God’s journey leads to a place of joy and peace, and He even says the mountains and the hills will break into shouts of joy before us (Isaiah 55:12, NASB). Surrender each day to God and He will lead you to unexpected places and unimaginable destinations.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it produce and sprout,
And providing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes out of My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.
For you will go out with joy
And be led in peace;
The mountains and the hills will break into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush, the juniper will come up,
And instead of the stinging nettle, the myrtle will come up;
And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
An everlasting sign which will not be eliminated.”
– Isaiah 55:8 – 13 (NASB)Surrender each day to God and He will lead you to unexpected places and unimaginable destinations. @DonnaWichelman #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Donna’s short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in various inspirational publications, and she has two self-published books on Amazon.com. She weaves history and faith into tales of intrigue and redemption, reflecting the hunger in all of us for love, forgiveness, and belonging in a world that often withholds second chances.