I was feeling pretty whiney the other day.
This isn’t a rare occurrence, but there are situations in which I am significantly worse than usual, the most frequent being writer’s block. So I am spending time with the Lord, whining to my Abba Daddy about my gift that He gave me, making sure that He is aware that if at any point in time He would like to make me passionate and skilled at something like photography or design or truly anything lucrative at all, that would be fantastic. Because often times, being a writer is pretty damn discouraging. I live in an age where most people I know hate to read and consider it a chore assigned by stiff English teachers from their old brick high school. A generation where, when you find a killer article online, if it isn’t either 300 words or less or a video, people scroll right past. An era where newspapers and printed books are being declared unnecessary and the writing industry is considered a dying one. I am a writer in an age where, when people ask what I do for a living and I tell them, they look at me with a sweet smile of pity, seemingly wondering if I have noticed that everyone’s attention spans only allow for the mediocre movie adaptations of spellbinding works of literary art.
This feeling of defeat-before-commencement isn’t, in my understanding, reserved for writers alone. Any creative I’ve met participating in any of the numerous realms of art has that faint yet perceivable glow about them that says, “I want it but do they?” And worse yet, there are creatives participating in an industry that they do not consider artistic and thus count themselves as devalued or unoriginal. Moms who believe the lie that motherhood—the most inspired career on the planet—is not creative and artistic. Painters who believe that the canvas will always be the mistress, the passionate lover sidelined by a job that offers steadiness. Photographers who feel belittled by the comments of those who cannot see the value of a person who not only recognizes curious beauty but captures it and slaves behind a computer screen over the precious moments they’ve frozen.
But I’m a writer, and I hope that you can apply the Lord’s response to my incessant whining to whatever craft He’s blessed you with, though it often feels more like a curse.
I was reading through Ephesians as I often do when I feel dried up, and I came across this verse, an obviously powerful one, packed full of trigger words and pretty concepts: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19) I stopped to dwell on it for a moment and God spoke to me and said: Paul did not know that He was writing the Bible. Paul was simply writing letters obediently; it is I that intended that they become the Bible.
We can’t possibly imagine the result of obedience to the craft because we can’t possibly imagine the purpose of the craft in the first place.
Are you getting this?
God told Paul, over and over again, write a letter. Tell them. Tell them everything. And I bet, like humans do, Paul felt pretty worthless pretty often. Because in God’s glorious and unimaginable grace, He did not disclose to Paul the book that His letters would be included in because that is simply too much pressure for a person to bear. I am sure that there were people in Ephesus and Corinth and Galatia who did not read his letters nor give a single shit about what he had to say. And that was ok because Paul wasn’t writing letters for them. He was writing letters for God! For us! Paul obediently transcribed the things God was saying to Him, wrote down the inner-workings of His conversations with The Lord, and addressed them to the people and cities that the Father was prompting him to and this particular obedience to a sometimes discouraging task is the very reason we are able to have such significant insight into the Kingdom of God today. Because Paul said yes without knowing the eternal value of his submission.
In verse 18 and 19, Paul doesn’t say that the eyes of our heart would be opened and we would be enlightened to know the future or the purpose or the result. He said that, when we believe, we will know the hope we are called to, the riches of our divine inheritance, and the incomparable power that He has for us. We get to know hope and blessing and power! I don’t know what I am writing for. I don’t know the effect it has on the world. But I have hope because I know that God has called me to it and because of that I can assume that it has some kind of anointed effect on His Kingdom.
Your craft serves a purpose you cannot fathom. So be unreasonable. Be irresponsible. Be the artist that it is foolish to be. Because God has invited you, a creative creation, to come alongside Him, the Creator, and make something of your own that will serve Him in some way that you could never dream up yourself.
Paul’s writing ended up in the Bible. Who knows where your art will end up?