Writing For a Sovereign God

I have a journal in which I write almost exclusively about writing.

This is the story (told partly in retrospect) of my life, my work, my heart, over four and a half years of writing. It tells the story of why I started. It tells of my victories, frustrations, insecurities, triumphs, and doubts as I’ve walked this writing path. It tells of my great love for God and for the craft of writing fiction.

It’s interesting to thumb through the pages I’ve filled so far (a hundred or so) and see the same theme pop up about every other month. I cruise along for weeks, writing, making progress, pleased with my work, and then–screech–the same niggling questions slam on the breaks.

What am I, that the Lord should be mindful of me?

What is my mouth, that it should speak?

My hands, that they should write?


My words, that they should be heard?

 I have to spend a day, or two, or a week, working them out for myself before I can take my foot off the break and ease into traffic again. You would think, after all this time, after all the pencil-scrawled words poured out attempting to answer these questions, I’d have figured it out by now. I haven’t.

I still find myself wondering if I’m not actually His most unfit servant. I am beset by pride every day, at every turn. I am wrong about so much. I don’t have some special access to God that isn’t available to every other believer in His creation. I didn’t actually hear or sense His specific words to me: “Here is a story from Me to you. Go forth. Do well.”

Some days my countenance is brought so low, I’m so convinced my writing is terrible, and nothing will come of this, and I was crazy to ever think it would, the only thing that keeps me from giving up is the sight of all the empty pages in my journal yet to be filled. I can’t bear to think that my writing story is over yet.

It was begun in 2011, during a season of personal and professional chaos, before I fully understood what I was doing, where I was going with it, or why I was doing it. But it was begun. In the canvas of my life, a thread was knotted behind the scenes, the first stitch was laid, then the second, then the third.

Not by me. I am nothing on my own. Like the Psalmist who also asked, “What is man, that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) I know from whom my life, my breath, my worth, and my work comes.

The sovereign God who brought the universe into existence, the Author of history, the Redeemer of mankind, the Beginning and the End–that same God–took the time in 1979 to breathe into being a new life, one chosen before the foundation of the world, predestined to love and worship Him. (Ephesians 1:3-5)

And that I do, just as He ordained.

It’s when I think I’ve got to have all the questions answered that the magnitude of His sovereignty becomes paralyzing. How do I know if I’m supposed to be doing this? If I’m the one to be doing this? If my labor will ever yield fruit in this life?

Because it may not. 

That’s not up to me, no matter how hard I work, no matter how many revisions I sweat and cry over, no matter how much I try with my own power to make it good enough.

It’s. Not. About. Me.

 How wonderful, the thought. How freeing!

The future is not mine to know or manipulate. My destiny, on earth or in heaven, is not in my hands, thank God. How I would screw it up if it was.

 He’s the One who chose me.

 

He’s the One who made my mouth to speak.

He’s the One who strengthens my hands.

He’s the One who gives me words.

 God will do what God will do. I am simply to follow the thread.  

My dear writer friends, the cry of my heart is that you too would cling tightly to the thread that was begun in the canvas of your life, even if you don’t yet understand what to do with it. Even if you can’t see how there will ever be fruit from it. Even when doubt and insecurity slams on the breaks. Work diligently, knowing the thread was laid by a sovereign God, and He knows what He’s doing.

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