Serving Christ through Poetry: Remembering Why I Write

God asked me a question one day that had me at a standstill,

“Why do you write?”

He’s been asking me that for awhile now, but more frequently this week, and normally I would’ve been able to come up with an answer. No hesitation or anything.

But this time,

This time I was unable to give a true (and certain) response.

So, I just gave a generic one instead, “Because I love to write. Writing is my passion, it’s what I love to do.”

God being God, He’s not one to fall for the lies we tell other people. You know what I mean. We have a tendency to try and throw up smokescreens to try and cover up and hide what’s really going on. Well, God sees past our smokescreen and the masks we wear; He sees our hearts and those things we attempt to hide even from ourselves.

I gave Him something disingenuous. He came right back at me,

“Why? Why do you love it, why is it your passion? Why do you love to write?”

“Well, I mean, I don’t know. I’ve always loved it.”

“But why? Why do you write?”

After a couple of days or so of the Lord asking me the same question, I finally just fessed up, “I don’t know. I don’t know why I write.”

It wasn’t necessarily because I didn’t know, but that I had forgotten, “There’s always a purpose or a reason for everything you do,” God told me, “When you are able to find your purpose for writing, you can then know why you write.”

I started thinking on some of my motivations for writing as of now:

Money
Attention
Applause & standing ovations
Book signings
My face on the cover of magazines
To be on Oprah’s book club
To have adoring fans
To become a legend

It was (and still is, to tell the truth) my desire to be that very poet who other poets aspire to be, just as I had favorites I was inspired by—am still inspired by.

God then brought me back to when I was little girl, to when I had learned how to write the alphabet, learned how to write my own name, began writing short stories and books of my own, then poetry and a play or two. I’ve been writing since I was in first grade and up until this point of my life I was sure of what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it…

But now I couldn’t remember why…

Then today, as I sat listening to some spoken word videos and seeing stuff pop up on my timeline/newsfeed, I felt overwhelmed by what I was taking in.

I wanted to compose something about these experiences I’ve been having lately, but could I really write about those things if my motives were completely wrong? The goal inevitably was not to promote Christ but to get compliments and people going on and on about how deep I am, and how I’m such a great writer—blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda.

And ironically, that made me uncomfortable. I had to ask myself for a moment, is that really the kind of writer you want to be?

It’s not. I want to be a servant of God through my writing. I promised Him three years ago that everything I wrote would be for Him. EVERYTHING. So if even Jesus wasn’t explicitly in there, He’d be in there because I was determined to give my gift back to the One who gave it to me in the first place.

And that’s where the discomfort comes from, because there’s a war in me: do I keep my promise and write for God or do I go back to writing for myself?

It took God showing me that somewhere down the line my motives changed and I went from writing for Him to giving Him an honorable mention now and then. Or sometimes briefly referring to Him, but He was nowhere to be seen.

Today, I was taken back by the surge of emotions I felt, the sadness that rose up in me from what I was witnessing in other people as well as myself, and for the first time I had a moment where it was too painful for me to write about it…

But then I heard God whisper to me, “That’s why I gave you your gift. This is why you were made to write.”

I can’t describe the joy that is stirring in me from Him telling me this, but it’s there…

I now remember why I write:

I write because it hurts
I write because it’s painful
I write because I’m tired
I write because I don’t feel like it
I write because I vocalize feelings through pen & paper
feelings other people can’t put words to themselves
I write because it’s what God put me on this earth to do

This is why I write.

I like to say that there are three types of poets. There are those who write poems to be studied, those who write poems to be enjoyed and those who write poems to be heard.

I was told once, “You write poems that people need to hear.” I won’t ever forget that. For me it was confirmation that I needed to stop hiding in my notebook and starting sharing the things I was inspired to write about.

The thing about writing poems to be heard however is that you can’t care about whether or not people like it, because it’s not about if they enjoyed it, or about showing off one’s skills with wordplay and rhyme, or whatever. It’s about writing something people need to hear whether they want to hear it or not, whether they like it or not. And even if they absolutely HATE it, it still doesn’t stop you from doing what you were made to do.

It’s uncomfortable right now, but I write because it is uncomfortable. I write because God put something in me that people need to hear and writing is what I was made to do.

…it’s what I was made to do.

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3 thoughts on “Serving Christ through Poetry: Remembering Why I Write

  1. I really like this post. I have had this conversation with the Lord, also. You are right. Some of us are created this way. I just restarted my blog. go read the poetry tab. I have been doing what you are posting on for about 23 years in the Lord and I have many testimonies to go with them It took courage to give them to others when the Father asked me to but there were many rewards, not monetary but full. Look for a poem and testimony, Perseverance. And then write. My daughter’s blog is linked on mine, http://www.paintbyletters.wordpress.com
    People need others who can express what they find difficult, which for writers like ourselves is a privilege, some of it natural talent, other times written in the agony of a moment. I’d like to hear your comments as your progress. Look at a post also on my blog, http://www.seedofwoman.wordpress.com called Life, Who Decides? Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with me–that helps a lot to know I’m not the only one going through this. I will be sure to take a look at both of your blogs. Thanks again!

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