Why Should I Write?
It happened again this afternoon. I told my kids not to watch a certain show on Netflix, and my seven-year-old daughter immediately responded with, “Why?” Her tone and timing both indicated her inquiry was more of a challenge than a genuine desire for information. There are times when I’m guilty of asking my heavenly Father the same type of “Why?” Yet, there are also moments when I ask the same question with a different heart, going to him in hopes of gaining insight or understanding. As I asked God why he has led me down this path of writing, he brought to mind an answer I often give my own children - “Because I love you, and I know what’s best for you.” He also helped me develop a mission statement for the why of my writing. I write to grow in my belief of who God says I am, to rightly reflect who he is, and to help readers joyfully discover who he’s created them to be.
In an unknowable act of scandalous grace, God chose to awaken me out of spiritual death and give me a brand new identity. Scripture is replete with hard-to-believe descriptors of our identity in Jesus, but one of the most clear and beautiful was spoken by God through the prophet Isaiah - “You are mine.” Because God created all things, he alone knows the fullest and greatest ways for everything to flourish. He knows, therefore, that it is only in relationship with him that we’ll experience the deepest peace and the most profound joy. By his design, what we do, think, and feel flows from who we believe we are. Who we are is inexorably tied to who God is.
It is only a gracious gift of faith that allows me to believe what God says about me. This belief doesn’t come naturally. It is much easier to believe what the enemy whispers about me - that I am a fraud - or what my flesh says about me - that I must work relentlessly to prove my worth. As Jesus trains me to hear him more quickly and clearly, the “Mine” begins to illuminate every area of my life. The family I grew up in, the things I’m good at, the traumas I’ve endured, the beautiful children he’s entrusted to me, the sin patterns I bend toward, all of it is his. And as he knit me together, God chose to loop in the thread of a love for words. Because he created that love in me, he also generously allows me to understand and experience its fullest expression - to enjoy and glorify him!
I strive to always write in ways that help readers understand more of God’s character. But this is an impossible task apart from the Spirit. God allows us to know him, which is itself an unfathomable gift! He has chosen to reveal his character through his Word, both made flesh and captured with ink, and other varied and beautiful means. He also calls his redeemed creation into his gospel mission, allowing our stories to echo the good news. While I cannot explain the why underneath it, I am so very grateful that God allows us to know him and make him known to others.
People long to know God, whether they are aware of that longing or not. Self-help books line store shelves and how-to tutorials flood our timelines because we all want to improve the “fruit” we see growing in and around us. It is much more difficult and rare, however, to look deep below the surface at the heart-level roots growing there. I long for fellow image-bearers to know the freedom that comes from an identity rooted in Jesus! I want them to drop the weight of self-justification, which I also carried for far too long, and joyfully embrace the free, priceless gift of Christ’s righteousness. I hope that amidst the cacophony of voices shouting, “you are enough!” my writing will echo the timeless truth of “only Jesus is enough.” Until Christ returns, our enemy will not cease to dangle false carrots in front of us about what it means to be successful. I pray that God equips me, along with countless brothers and sisters, to craft words into life-giving proclamations about true success - dying to self and exalting the risen Christ! God sometimes chooses to place that gospel message on billboards, for many eyes to see. Sometimes he chooses to put it on small, handwritten notes pressed into the palm of a hurting friend. On any sized platform, at any point on the timeline of history, the power of the gospel is the same: to bring life from death. I can think of no better mission for my writing, no better purpose for my entire life.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash