For Writers: Behind the Writing

Below is a piece I wrote for Authenticity Book House and their Devotional for Writers series. Enjoy!

What if we wrapped our writing process in the blanket of worship? This question swirls around in my mind each time I sit down to write.

As the sun peeks through the window, I pull back my sheets and crawl out of bed. I sit and stare at my screen for hours. I scroll through Facebook. I watch the birds outside the window, stumped on which extended metaphor to choose. I re-read each piece again and again and again to remove every be-verb possible. How do I transform the grueling details into worship?

The matter of our hearts determines the substance of our writing.

The central issue of every parable in the gospel wraps around the condition of the heart. The actions matter. But the motives that fuel our actions and works direct our path.

What motivates you to write? Do you invite your Creator into your writing time?

Peek into Luke 18:9–14. Jesus discusses the actions of the Pharisee and the tax collector. What concerns him the most? Does the discipline of the Pharisee impress him? Does the sin of the tax collector anger him? No, he smiles upon the humility of the tax collector.

Glance further down at Luke 18:19–23. The rich young ruler scrolls down his list of good deeds. One by one, he checks each deed off the list, bundling up in the warmth of his pride. Christ challenges him to take off the weight of his possessions and free himself. Yet the young ruler decides his riches, rather than Christ, keep him warm on sleepless and lonely nights. Once again, Jesus consumes himself in the root of the matter—our hearts.

What lies at the heart of your writing? Meditate on these two reflective questions. Examine your heart and create habits to turn work into worship.

Who do you think of when you write?  We write to process pain, events, thoughts, and life. And we write to inspire and encourage others. But even these good motives fall short if our writing doesn’t wrap itself in worship to our Creator.

What purpose lies behind the writing? Do you wrap your identity in your work? Do you need to prove something to yourself or to someone else? These piercing questions dig deep into our hearts and have the power to cleanse our motives of selfish ambition.

Self-examination benefits our writing life and our spiritual life. We need to let our faith fuel our creativity and cover every detail of our writing processes. Then and only then, does writing turn into worship.