Monday, June 17, 2013

Seeing Your Writing as Worship

Hello! This is Pamela Meyers and I’m thrilled to say that I am one of Novel Rocket’s newest staff members. I’ve guest blogged here a number of times, but now I have a regular assignment. You’ll see me here on the third Monday of each month, sometimes with an author interview and other times, a thoughtful essay from me or a teaching piece on writing craft.

For my first posting this month I thought I’d revisit a blog post I wrote several years ago on how a message from a radio preacher affected me as a writer. His anecdote about Elisabeth Elliott and a stolen manuscript that contained two years of translation helped me tremendously with my own attitude toward the hours I’d put in to my writing with no visible signs of success so far as publication was concerned.

I’ve tweaked it a bit, since this is now several years later, but I feel it still holds great relevance today. Below is the piece.

On my way to meet a friend after church, I set my radio to the local Christian station and zipped down the toll way. A pastor’s voice boomed through the speakers as he spoke about worship and its various forms. I glanced out the window at the passing landscape and marveled the beauty of God’s handiwork in the fall colors. I immediately thanked Him for his creativity--definitely a form of worship.

The pastor’s voice cut into my thoughts as he related a story about Elisabeth Elliott, the wife of missionary Jim Elliott, who many years ago was one of several missionaries killed by Ecuadorian natives. After his death, Elisabeth traveled to Ecuador to complete her husband’s translation work.

A couple years after she arrived, she traveled from one location to another, her precious translation manuscript tucked into the suitcase she carried. This was before the days of computers. Everything was done by pen and paper; no hard drives, the cloud, or backups on a thumb drive existed. It was her only copy. Somehow, the unthinkable happened.  

The suitcase was stolen.

Despite days of searching for the manuscript, it was never found. Someone asked her if she was angry at God for what had happened. Elisabeth answered in the form of a question. How could she be angry when every hour of her work was done as an act of worship? The work had been stolen, but the thief could never steal those times of worship as she translated the Bible.

That answer caught me up short as I drove along. I’d already spent many years of writing, rewriting, and writing without a contract offer. Thinking about Elisabeth’s comment, I likened her stolen work to the many rejections I’d received thus far. Not exactly an exact analogy since if my laptop were stolen, as tragic as that would have been, I’d still have backup copies of my manuscripts. But, I asked myself, what if I never receive THE call from my agent. Would I have the same attitude as Elisabeth Elliot? Would I still see my writing as an act of worship? 

In Romans 12 we are called to present ourselves as a living sacrifice as a spiritual act of worship, and that was how I should see all of my work—as a ministry unto the Lord. I determined right then that if non-publication was God’s plan for me and I was called to write only for Him as an act of worship, I was okay with it. After that fall morning, I still experienced disappointment when I received a rejection, but I was able to quickly bounce back and keep going thanks to knowing God was pleased with my work no matter what.

A couple years after I wrote this post, God blessed me with book contracts in ways I never dreamed. Nowadays, I not only see my writing as a ministry and act of worship for God, but everything I do that is writing related is done in worship.

After all, this is what He has called me to do, and no one can take those hours of worship away from me.


Paula Mowery said...

Thanks for this post. This is what makes writing Christian fiction so powerful and exciting to me. We don't just make up stories for entertainment; we enter into our writing with this worship attitude and minister with our words as the Lord leads our pens. Sometimes the ministering words may be just for us, the writer. Other times, He allows the words to go out and minister to others, the readers.

Barbara Latta said...

What a wonderful reminder of our purpose, not just as writers but as Christians. Everything we do should be an act of worship. Knowing this puts the focus on God and not on ourselves or our efforts.

jeniferbrady said...

Thank you for sharing this! I'm a Christian author as well, and this post has helped me refocus and get back to the original reason I started writing Christian fiction