A Writer’s Confession.

I’ve been reflecting lately on the real dangers of being a writer. One of the reasons I took a break from blogging for a while is because I was too consumed by checking statistics, subscriptions and comments. It started to become too much about me. Here are some things I have to daily repent of as a writer, in the form of a prayer:

1. I confess I use writing to isolate myself. Lord, I confess that writing regularly pulls me from your reality; it causes me to retreat from your people; it allows me to sit atop the hand-crafted stool of my self-made world of mini-worshipers who only know me by my craft. I know that I daily lie to myself that I am the person I present on the page. No, I’m not. No, I’m not. No, I’m not. I’m the person my wife knows. I’m the person my friends know. I’m the person my pastor knows. I’m full of sin and selfishness and I need their forgiveness. I need real human skin; real vocal waves penetrating my ears; real pupils perceiving my mask like a periscope to the heart. But most of all, I need you, Jesus, to tell me who I am. I need you to show me my sin and your scars; your blood dripping across my pridefully penned pages.

2. I confess I use writing to stroke my ego. Lord, even pagans admit that writing is an act of the ego; it is a convenient excuse to be selfish. I write what makes me happy, what tickles my ears, rather than what makes you great. I am trying pathetically to win praise. I am ambitious for your throne. I write to have what you rightly deserve: Praise. Honor. Glory. I have, like the builders of Babel, constructed from clay a name for myself. I have lost sight of Jesus, and I need you to bring me back to my name carved on his hands, pouring over his brow, etched on his cross. I am that man.

3. I confess I use writing to tear down others. Oh Lord, the weight of souls – real, human souls – crushes me. When I think that my words have sent men careening toward heaven or hell, I am devestated by the blood on my hands. I have set forests ablaze with my tongue; I have steered ships into cliffs; I have poured salt water from the fresh water spring of your Spirit. How can this be? I am a man of unclean lips! I have made a mockery of God; I have called my brother a fool. In doing so, I have spit on my Savior. My head hangs low. But you speak a good word to me, oh Lord: “You are my beloved son. With you I am well pleased.”

4. I confess I use writing because I’m afraid. Lord Jesus, it is clear to me that my smiling face in public is a white-washed tomb. I harbor bitterness and anger not befitting your children, and it spills like vomit over the pages my fingers create. I have used these pages as a platform to pummel the Imago Dei. In here, these dark corridors, I deliver my knife. I spit from atop this lofty building and run like a coward to my closet. I stroke my precious ego with words guised as gospel, but absent of essential, gospel love. But you speak a gentle word to me, and lead me like a lamb to the cross.  You speak truth into my heart, get your hands dirty and pick me up from the muck. You clean up this hopeless disaster, bandage my wounds, and rub healing balm over my ligaments. My bones rejoice in the Lord. Oh my soul, Rejoice! Again I say, Rejoice!

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nmcdonal

26 Comments

  1. Ouch. Too true. Of course, the same can be said for anything we put our mind to. Bakers create beautiful, mouth-watering cakes to hear the praise of those who partake. Painters isolate themselves in order to produce astounding works of art, designed to amaze those who look on them.

    The human condition is selfish, isolating, glory seeking and self-protective. It takes the grace of God to convert us into vulnerable, open, generous people who seek God’s glory and the blessing of others.

    I know you know this. I’m just musing here. Thanks for this reminder to do all to the glory of God.

    • Great point, GM. I think it’s true for any profession…it just FEELS especially true for me!

    • Thanks for your musings. I really needed to hear them after reading that. I mean, that was a bold confession that I relate to, but it made me feel kind of hopeless about ever writing in a healthy way.

  2. This post has moved me to tears, Nick.
    True humility is rare and precious in this world.

    “Lord hear my prayer that my soul may not collapse under your discipline, and may not suffer exhaustion in confessing to you all your mercies, by which you have delivered me from all my evil ways. Bring to me a sweetness surpassing all the seductive delights which I pursued. Enable me to love you with all my strength that I may clasp your hand with all my heart . . .May I dedicate to your service my power to speak and write and read and count . . .” St. Augustine

    Thank you for opening your heart to us, friend.

  3. Nick, those things may be true. What’s also true is that the Holy Spirit lives in you and glorifies the Father in your life by the mere fact that you belong to Jesus. Every single breath you take speaks to your existence in Christ, and therefore every single breath is a testament of glory to God. You might be in the middle of committing a sin that sickens you to your stomach at some moment, but you belong to Jesus even then and that alone makes it a glorifying moment for God.

    It’s hard for us to fathom, but I’m just going with what Paul said in Romans 7 and 8!

    Blessings,
    Tim

  4. Oh so wonderfully convicting. May God help us all to be real and glorify Him in all that we do….especially our writing where our words will live beyond our lives. Thank you.

  5. I think we can all relate to this; we just don’t always admit it aloud. I’m glad God never gives up on any of us. We’re always precious to Him. Thank you for sharing from the heart.

    • It’s good to hear there are other sinners in the world, too, Jeannie. But I have an inkling that I’m the worst of them.

      • You have an Inkling? Which one? I want Lewis … no, Tolkien … no, Sayers … no, Williams … wait a sec, hold on … oh, it’s just too hard to choose!

        • That’s actually not a bad idea, Tim – I bet if we made “Inkling” action figures and pitched them as Lewis/Tolkien collector’s items we could make a pretty penny…

  6. Thanks for your honesty brother. My take on this is that we live and serve in a paradigm still tainted and warped by sin. My words, spoken or written, can be a powerful instrument in the hand of my Father… or a wicked and deadly weapon when under the power of the flesh! My daily prayer: ‘Lord, I am a man of unclean lips. Please redeem my tongue. Please guide my pen. Let me speak words of life’. Blessings to you.

    • Yes, that’s the paradox of being a teacher, cb. Our words give and take life – it’s a solemn responsibility.

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  9. What an insightful, honest, humble post. My comments would echo what others have already said, especially Grannymom. By God’s grace we learn to live for the praise of God’s glory.

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