I've never written a response post before, so today will be a first. The lovely, spitfire authoress Jenny Freitag (who penned Plenilune, a book I want to read one day) over at The Penslayer wrote a post the other day called Why NOT Being a Prolific Writer is a Godsend. Now, I agree with/am inspired by a number of Jenny's posts, but something she said in this one burrowed under my skin and stuck there. So I'm pondering it in the form of a blog post.
The Lord doesn't need you + you don't know what you're talking about. If you possibly think you know enough to "write" for the Lord, you know nothing of the smallness of man nor the immensity of God. Do as Job did, and put your hand over your mouth. Be humble. God has left his written witness. My fiction - your fiction - none of it is necessary.
I confess, I blinked at my screen and did a double take at that first phrase: the Lord doesn't need you. I won't presume to know all the thoughts and intentions behind Jenny's statement, but I'm bothered enough to want to unpackage and sift this for myself. Cool?
God is infinite. Infinitely complete, infinitely self-sufficient. So of course He doesn't need me. Need is felt only by finite beings. He has and is everything. The creation of the world and of mankind was not done out of a vacancy of God's. It was not because He was somehow lacking. No, He spoke creation into being because He wanted to. It was what He desired, and it brought Him pleasure.
But the Lord I'm spending my life getting to know does want me. After all, He brought me into existence. And every page of the Bible is evidence that He wants to love me, wants me to love Him back, and basically wants to have every piece of myself. And He shows me the way to live a life that builds His Kingdom. One way I can do that is through my writing.
If you possibly think you know enough to "write" for the Lord, you know nothing of the smallness of man nor the immensity of God.
Maybe this is just arguing semantics, but by "writing for the Lord" do you mean "writing in service of the Lord" or "writing because He can't speak loud enough on His own?"
"For the Lord" in the sense of a lesser being serving a higher one--or in the sense of fulfilling someone's lack? I can bake muffins for you because I like you and want to give you something that will bring you pleasure, or I can bake muffins for you because you can't/are too busy/don't know how/don't want to.
All it takes is for me to look up at the stars on a dark night to recognize the smallness of man and the immensity of God--only a scrap of it, you understand, because my finite mind cannot truly comprehend the infinite. But if I say that I write for the Lord, I don't say so under any delusion that He somehow needs me to. As if His plan would fall apart if I didn't.
And yet! And yet . . . one of the greatest mysteries of all is how a God so indescribably powerful would choose to give such a measure of authority to earthen vessels, human beings. How He would choose to do His work not with a bang and a flash of lightning and an instantaneous solution, but through the slow, painful process of moving in and through mankind. Through flawed, limited people. Yes, through me.
Does He need me? Isn't He capable of accomplishing whatever He wants no matter what I do? Yes. And also no.
This mystery confounds me. It's like prayer. He doesn't need us to tell Him what we're thinking and what we need, because He already knows. But for the purpose of relationship and the maturing of our faith, He wants us to pray. There's a big difference between needing and wanting. I don't think we realize the full extent of our prayers' impact. Prayer is needed.
None of it is necessary.
I see where you're coming from--you're speaking to those of us whose heads have gotten too big, those of us who pressure ourselves to write, write, write, because there are SOULS TO SAVE. Those of us who stagger under the unrealistic pressure we've heaped upon our own shoulders. I get that.
But every mile of road has two miles of ditch. The opposite swing of the pendulum is one which causes us to throw up our hands and weigh our writing too lightly. If my writing is not necessary, then why do it? It's too much work and pain and bloodshed to press on if it doesn't matter anyway. (But there's the rub--maybe it really is unnecessary, and yet it still matters. Maybe it's something I don't have to do, but when I do it, it makes a difference. Or maybe it is necessary. I'm not 100% sure.)
This post is all over the place . . . But that's the shape of my pondering, so I won't apologize.
I think this has become more of a spinoff than a response post, because Jenny's aim was one thing and my thoughts have veered off on another that's rather tangential. She was speaking to relieve the pressure we place on ourselves to produce copious amounts of story, and here I am talking about the necessity-or-not of writing and whether God needs it or wants it of us. (Sorry, Jenny.)
For me, writing falls under the umbrella of living well, of making use of everything God has given me. For me, writing is one means of discovering Him and in the process, sharing His light with those who may read my words. Do I feel worthy of such a task? Not at all. But God seems to have a penchant for using the unworthy. If I can be an instrument in His hands, that's incredibly humbling and brings me such joy. If He can shine through the chinks in my stories, then I will keep penning those tales.