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!