"Martha was distracted with much serving... But Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
The other day as I was reading a Max Lucado book, I came across something that made me stop and think about the reason that I write. Sure, I love writing. But am I writing to serve, please, and bring glory to my Father - or to serve, please, and bring glory to myself?
In the above Bible story, Martha was having Jesus over for supper. She did everything she could to prepare dinner so that it would be perfect. Meanwhile, she became so distracted and obsessed with the serving part that she completely forgot the One she was serving.
I think many times we do the same. The reason I chose to write Christian fiction was so that I could use the words that God gives me to encourage those who hurt, and in the process draw people nearer to Christ. That was my main desire, as I'm sure it was for many of you. As time goes on, though, the focus shifts. We begin to spend more time concentrating on getting the work done and making it perfect instead of praying for God's guidance as we type. He is, in fact, the main reason that we write in the first place - so how can we, as writers, bring our attention back to the one who gave us this gift?
- Don't focus so much on your writing schedule, trying not to be too hard on yourself if you don't meet your daily word count. Sure, it's important to be self-disciplined. But sometimes to-do lists become idols. Don't allow them to control your life. Instead, pray and allow God to lead you through the day. He is the one in control of your "writing journey". Everything is in his timing only, not yours.
- Avoid losing yourself in the work, but instead remember the reason why you work. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says that we must do everything for the glory of God. Disaster is guaranteed to come whenever we become obsessed with our job, or allow our job to control us instead of God. If we put unnecessary stress on ourselves to get the job done just right, we may be drowning out the voice of God trying to guide us as we type.
- If you seem to be going nowhere in your "writing journey", don't fret. Being fretful can also lead to discouragement and obsession with your work, wanting to succeed rather than allowing God to lead. He often tests us just to see if our heart is in the right place, to see if we write to honor him, or to honor ourselves. Put the scripture Philippians 4:6-7 to action and pray about the situation instead. He knows where you stand in your career, and he's willing to help if you let him.
- Remember that it is not through our works, but through his. Sure you may work hard to create the perfect story, but don't forget that the Creator is the one who put this gift inside of you.
- Spend time in prayer and worship before putting your fingers to the keyboard. Not only will doing this bring you peace and clarity as you write, but you're putting God first instead of yourself. If you become stuck at some point, ask God to lead you. There have been many times that God works something out in my story that I had been worried about. It just came together perfectly after praying, without any effort on my behalf. Had I tried to figure it out, I wouldn't have gotten anywhere. If you make sure to spend time with the Lord each time before writing, our focus shifts from ourselves to God. Click here if you'd like to read a "writing prayer/poem" Karen Kingsbury wrote that I find very inspiring.
Now that it is a new year, we should all take a step away from our work and shift our focus back to Christ. As Christian writers, it's important that we don't get so caught up in trying to achieve a dream and become a well-known name in the industry, that we miss out on using this gift to serve Christ better.
"It's easy to forget who is the servant and who is to be served."
Is this something you seem to struggle with often?
In what way?
What are some other ways that writers can shift the focus from ourselves to our God?