I didn't know this. I didn't expect that reading writing tips from Jeff Goins, Writer would do more for me than just give me tips about writing.
It began with Jackie Bledsoe Jr. tweeting a post called "How to Live Your Dream When You're Scared to Death" (Go ahead and go read it now; it's worth it. I'll still be here when you get back). I read it and replied to his tweet, thanking him for tweeting it. The author of the piece, Jeff Goins, had been included in that (even though I hadn't really paid attention to who wrote it at the time; sorry, Jeff!) and he began following me on Twitter. I followed back, and then spent a lot of time over the weekend reading his website and bought his e-book.
I have always loved to write. Whether it was through journals or making up a pretend newspaper one day as a child, writing letters, writing papers in college or most recently writing sermons, I have always enjoyed putting words together on paper in order to communicate.
But I never considered myself to actually be a writer. I thought writers were those people who had majored in Journalism or Creative Writing (neither of which I did; I was English Lit) and were people who had been published or who were well-known for their writing. I thought writers were people who got paid to write. I thought writers were people who were confident in their writing.
I was wrong.
I am a writer.
I am a writer because I write.
Even as I type that, I still feel a hesitation to identify myself that way. It could be insecurity, fear, uncertainty, or all of those and then some. And yet, deep down, I know that I am a writer. It is a part of who I was created to be and, as Jeff said, "until you start living into your calling, you’re robbing the world of a gift." This is very similar to what my friend Andy said some time ago when he wrote this:
You’re a unique individual, created by God and possessing wonderful gifts to be shared with the world, and share them you must because cheesy as this may sound, the only chance the world has of reaching the full potential of beauty God created it to have is if you share your uniqueness. Please don’t deprive the world of your special blend of beauty.As inspiring as I thought that was and even though it encouraged me, I still have been holding back. I have blogged, wondering, "can I really do this?" or "what do I have to offer?" And yet, there must be something that God wants me to offer the world through my writing. I have been on this vocational discovery journey since I moved in February and it just seems to point to writing. Maybe it is time to get serious about it. Maybe it is time to write naked, to let go of fear and insecurity and just write: this blog, the book I want to write, and whatever other writing opportunities that I will find.
As I wrote this, verses 13-14 from Psalm 139 came to my mind:
"For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made."Although these verses are often used for the pro-life cause, they are so much more than just a statement about God creating our physical lives in the womb. In the context of the entire psalm, look at what the psalmist is saying:
- God knows me
- I can't hide from God
- God will lead me
- God knows what my life will be like
If this is true, then not only is God my creator, but He has created me to be and do certain things. He did not only create my heartbeat or my green eyes or my short height or my stick-straight hair but He created my INFJ/P personality and He created my passions and interests and abilities.
And so, today, I will call myself the writer that I am. I will follow God's path for me on this writing journey. Today, the last verse of this psalm is my prayer:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Do you ever feel as if you are waiting for someone to give you permission to be you?