Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In His Strength - Austin

Feelings of inadequacy plague the lonely task of writing. Few of us have egos so heavily armoured that we feel no bruising from the "Thank you for submitting, but. . ." responses to works we have laboured over and loved. We question our calling as writers. We wonder why we feel this compulsion to wrestle with words when the rewards of a nine-to-five job with a regular pay cheque would actually pay bills.

We can catalogue our weaknesses. Some of us save rejection notes. They are surprisingly effective in bringing reality checkes when an acceptance does arrive. We are inadequate, and as writers we are given ample reminders of that. Yet God, being God, makes even that a triumph. In the Apostle Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 1, he speaks of God choosing the foolish, the insignificant and the despised things. Given those qualifications, almost all of us can write a convincing resume.

We are inadequate. Yet in spite of that and sometimes because of it, God can do great things through us. That in no way excuses carelessness in our writing. But I've noticed that when lives are touched by my writing, it is usually in areas where I have exposed a weakness and made myself vulnerable. It is rarely from works where I have pushed back from the computer and patted myself on the back because I have written something brilliant.

We are inadequate. BUT GOD IS NOT! He could feed more than 5000 people with one kid's lunch. Why then are we surprised when he takes our words and impacts lives? Who was ever more inadequate that that child on a hillside in Israel? I suspect he still got shivers when he told his grandchildren about that day.

It is that very inadequacy, and the shivers I get when God does something I never anticipated through words I have written that brings rewardes out of all proportion to my qualifications for this calling.

Like almost every skilled writer I know, I strive for professionalism, constantly seeking to hone my skills. I deliberately draw from my strengths. Yet I try to yield my weaknesses to God as well. I offer to Him and to my readers the reality that I am less than I wish to be as a writer, even as I reach for ever higher standards. When God, sovereigh though He is, has my active surrender to use my weaknesses as well as my strengths, my inadequacies as well as my professionalism, He accomplishes things I cannot imagine. It imposes a vulnerability in my writing that touches lives on a level I can never reach by professionalism alone. It lets His strength show in places where there is no question of it being my brilliance. Strangely, it is humbling but not humiliating; uplifting but not ego inflating. An added bonus? It's a fun ride.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Your approach may seem rather blunt, yet your insights are very keen; and your self-revelation of weakness renders you vulnerable, yet shows your source of strength. As Paul says of himself (2 Cor. 12:10):"... For when I am weak, then I am strong." and (Phil. 4:13): "I can do everything [God requires me to do] through him who gives me strength."
Thank you for allowing yourself to be a vessel in the divine hand to touch so many of us.

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