Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Writing as Worship

Why do you write? Because the characters won't leave you alone? Because it's your favorite way to be creative? Because someone needs the message you have been given? Because you don't want to waste the talents God has given you?

How about this: because writing is an act of worship?

For a Christian, worship is an expression of reverence and adoration for God. Is this reflected in how and why you write? Let me explain.

I write fiction by the seat of my pants. I have very little (read: no) idea what will happen until the words form from my fingertips. Sometimes I stop and stare at the computer monitor when some strange bit of motivation comes to light, or the plot does a 180. Huh, I think. So that's where the story is going.

This process is both terrifying and exhilarating. I'm on my 23rd manuscript — what will be my 16th published work when it releases in August — and I have absorbed, somewhat by osmosis, the pacing necessary for contemporary romance. Somehow it always comes together.

Trust me. I would plot if I could, but there is a big black nothing at the end of my feeble flashlight beam. I'm fairly organized in Real Life™. I expected to be fairly organized in my writing.

God knew me better than that. God knew that if I had the ability to plot, I might become smug. Full of pride, even. "See this book? It's pretty good, huh? I wrote it."

By the simple act of holding the gift of plotting beyond my reach, God made sure I'd remember that it's not all about me. I don't write good books because I'm so talented. I write good books because, every single day, I struggle to find where the story needs to go next. Every single day, I depend on Him.

I used to ask God to bless my writing and use it for His glory, like some kind of Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. I craved this little gold star. A little pat on the head. A little thank you from God for a job well done. See? I did something for God and He likes it!

My daily prayer is so different now. I have become aware — maybe we call this maturity? — that God does not actually need me to do specific things so He can accomplish His will here on Earth. I am not the key. He can do it without me. He can do it without you. He's God. We're not.

But He wants us. He doesn't need us, but He wants us.

Now when I sit at my computer in the morning and reread the last scene in preparation for today's writing, my prayer is different. It's more like this.

"Lord, here we are today. You and me, together. What do You want to teach me through today's writing? I'm honored to create something with You, the eternal Creator. With You, not for You. I can't thank You enough for the opportunity to reach into people's lives. Those readers You're inviting to this story — what do they need, Lord? What does this story need to say to them from You? What do my characters need to say and think and do to make this story resonate with Your message? Lord, thank You. Please guide my fingers, guide my mind, to create this story for your glory. In Jesus' name, amen."

And as I align myself with God's vision every morning, I begin to type. To record the story that unfolds in front of me. To write as an outpouring of worship.

Am I perfect at this? Uh… no. But I am learning that the most important story relationship is the one between God and me. If I am sharing His words as I type, He will find the readers to share them with, whether they be few or many. It's His story to do what He wants with. My job is to honor Him by faithfully acting as His conduit.

How about you? Is writing an expression of worship for you?

Valerie Comer's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local food movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes where food meets faith and fiction in her Farm Fresh Romance series and Riverbend romance novellas. Visit her at ValerieComer.com.


Peter Black said...

Thanks, Valerie, for sharing your passion, inspiration and insights, and also the joy of your writing partnership with God. I thoroughly enjoyed your post. ~~+~~

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, Peter!

Glynis said...

Nicely said, Valerie. I think this is a valuable post that will encourage many, including the timid who think maybe they aren't following all the proper rules of 'plan'!

I really like how you talked about how God doesn't need us - but He wants us! Good perspective. He can do His work well without us yet he does desire us to do His will through the words we offer to the page.

Great post. Thanks, Valerie.

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