A couple of weeks ago, I facilitated one of the afternoon sessions at my church's women's retreat. My program was called, "Writing as a Spiritual Discipline," for the second year in a row. It is always fun and invigorating to talk with other women about how we write, why we write, and how we find time to write. That last part may be the most interesting. We all learn so much from each other.
This year, I decided to share more of my own story: how I came to be sitting in front of this keyboard, blogging on a regular basis, and why writing of most any sort is spiritual for me. Here is part of what I said:
I like to think of writing as a creative outlet that lets me spend time with God.
A few years ago, when I was a young stay-at-home-mom, I realized that my primary outlet was collapsing in front of the TV. Not creative. Not spiritual.
Someone asked me, “What are your hobbies?” When I got over the shock of, "What do you mean, hobbies? Who has time for hobbies?!" I had nothing to say. The things I had written on my college applications – ballet, piano, Girl Scouts – didn’t apply anymore. My work life was gone and my days were . . . well . . . different. I realized that my life lacked any sort of creative outlet, and that my time with God was confined to Sunday morning.
I started asking myself some questions, like “What have I always liked to do?” and (deep one) "Who am I, now that many of the activities I once used to identify myself have been stripped away?"
This coincided nicely with the question being asked in the Missional Life class I was taking at church, “What is God calling you to do?”
The answers came together for me with this: I felt God calling me to draw near to him through quiet time, journaling and writing. As a result, I started this blog in 2010.
And here I've learned that my best writing happens when I simply start, not knowing how it will end.
It is an act of faith for me to keep writing, knowing that I have NO idea how to tie this all together or how my thoughts will eventually make sense. But I have found that if I keep going, if I keep responding on paper to the prodding that must be coming from a being greater than I, then it is there. Eventually, or suddenly, I will see the point that God wanted me to see.
I feel like God reveals himself to me when I open myself up to writing about a thought he has planted, even (or maybe especially) when I don’t understand it, or it seems strange, or somehow against the grain.
How do I know if a thought or subject is from God? Well, I don’t really. It’s not like I hear an actual voice. It’s just something I’ve learned to recognize from doing it over and over again – the discipline of it. I’ve learned that when God wants me to work through an idea or a certain subject, it won’t go away – and he is always there for me with the ending. Some sort of resolution or “ah-ha” moment. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve started, that have gone no where. No light-bulb moment, no comfort, no peace. I choose to believe that either those works aren’t worth finishing, or that God will reveal what he thinks I need in his own time.
That's the personal part of it. The great thing about blogging is that there is more. I'm not writing in a personal vacuum - you're here. I get to read your thoughts on your blogs, and I always appreciate how you respond to mine. It's an awesome thing to share life with others. I'm glad to be doing it this way.
So, thanks for being here. And tell me, what is your creative outlet?
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