2016 has been a year of increased writing for me. Especially it’s been a year of increased writing away from this blog, mainly for Desiring God. I usually link up and excerpt the writing I do elsewhere, so most of it has shown up here even so.
Aside from online writing, I’ve also written two bible studies for the women of our church, written talks, and long (ish) off-the-cuff Facebook and Instagram posts. In many ways, I’ve given all I could to writing, reading, and learning. That is to say, I’ve given what time I could in light of my life and responsibilities, sometimes more than I should have, sometimes less. Learning to give appropriate time to these things, learning when to dive headlong in and when to hold back is more of an art than a science for a mom with varying jobs and unpredictable days and often seems a bit out of my control. One piece of writing advice I’ve taken to heart is: if you write it cold, don’t expect readers to feel the fire to keep reading.. or something like that–that’s my adaptation of the gist of the advice. This has led me to write when the zeal is there, which isn’t always on schedule.
The other thing I’ve learned, not through advice but through failure, is that zeal in our writing makes us hasty. And haste is often foolish. Write with zeal, but then give yourself time to read it cool, with clear eyes, before you put it out there. I’ve benefitted from many eyes on my writing and a good amount of time between writing and publishing.
One thing I’ve learned about myself over the last couple years is that reaching people through writing is exhilarating. As someone whose life has been changed through books– through other people’s writing–the idea that God could use my writing to encourage, point, and disciple others is thrilling and deeply satisfying. That thrill can lead to praising God and it can lead to sinful sickness in the soul.
But perhaps the more important thing I’ve learned is that the face-to-face interactions, the flesh and blood lives that I have the privilege of being apart of through discipling, teaching, writing for, and learning from, give my soul a much deeper, lasting joy. Writing for people in general is hollow compared to writing for my people. And so whenever I write, that’s what I aim for. I aim to love the real people around me, to encourage them, to help them. Then I pray that if God would be pleased to use it elsewhere, then he would, and if not, that my satisfaction in it would not lessen, but quite the opposite, that it would increase. There’s something very wonderful in leaving the results to God, in knowing that judging success by earthly standards isn’t just dangerous, it’s often flat out wrong.
The banner I want over my life and writing is: entrusted. So, I commit this coming year to him. I entrust it to him. And in doing so, I am asking him for the long view: that I will faithfully deposit any and all good works into his hands and into this world, entrusting their value and influence to him, that they would be shown for what they are on the final day. May he keep me from judging my own self and works, as I undoubtedly am too soft and too hard on myself in all the wrong ways, but rather entrust it all to him, the only righteous judge. If you have the inclination, would you pray that I would be a faithful steward, entrusting all to God?
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1 Peter 4:14-19 ESV)
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1-5 ESV)
This is beautiful! Thank you. Any creative act we do has a wide range of potential effects. Your point is good, that we be too easy or too hard on ourselves. So we have to leave it with God. I appreciate your spirit, your writing, and your camaraderie along the past toward Christlikeness. May 2017 bring us closer to Him!
I was wondering if the Bible studies you wrote can be used at other churches too. I lead the women’s ministry at a Baptist church in Spring, TX and would love to use your studies if that’s possible. Please feel free to let me know at womenoffounders@gmail if you have time. Thanks, Jenn
Happy to help. I’ll email you.