Why Do I Write? Thoughts from a Writer’s Retreat.

“Pick a word, any word, and I will tell you the Greek word…” was spoken by Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

Words, they are what we humans use.  They spill from us usually before we can walk.  Simple words form from our rolling tongues and our parting lips.  My pastor once described them as containers.  Our experiences pour into our word containers and give meaning.  Pick a word, any word right now.  Got it?  That word to you will invoke images and understanding particular to you.  The general meaning will hold true.  Red is red.  I see my mother’s orange red hair first.  You might see a red dot on the back of sneakers.  Associations run as deep as we are old.

God’s first recorded words were “Let there be light” and it was.  If God had a mouth that parted and closed, oh how I wish I could have read his lips!  Instead I read the results of the power of his words.  A creation set in motion through words.  My sense of wonder is aroused because he said something.  Then, to add a cherry on top, God infused his image in me.

He placed words in me.  They are words to be spoken and written to set recreation in motion around me.  Those words carry possibility.  Syllables of light can set aside shadows of unknowing.   Although life can be fragmented, a complete sentence of God’s image in me can open things up.  God has something to say and I do too.  Yet, like a child I point to God saying, “He started it!”

It began about fifteen years ago.  At a conference someone prayed over me and the Spirit of God melted me to a point where I was saying through tears, “I have something to say”.  Then a few years later a poem read in church moved me.  Verse describing a field of various named and unnamed foliage pointed me toward a freedom.  God let me know it was o.k. to pick words from a field of vocabulary and shape sentences like a garden.  Then the nick-name “John-boy” was placed on me from my Abba (See earlier post titled Name Calling).

If you are a writer you understand what I am saying.  But these ideas can be attached to any vocation given by God.  Personal examples come to mind.  Joe the mechanic, Luke the tech, Dan the pastor, Pete the nurse, Pat the administrator, Shelby the number cruncher, and Barbara the mother operate out of a giftedness and passion.  There are numerous examples and I wonder how many popped up for you as you read this.

This weekend when the question was posed “Why do you write?” I thought of Eric Liddell.  In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric’s sister was getting worried that her brother, called to be a missionary, was getting sidetracked by a passion for running.  His response to her was tender but unwavering.  “Jenny, Jenny, you got to understand, God made me for a purpose.  But he also made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure in me.”  Eric ended up going to the mission field after he glorified God through the gift of running.

What about you?  Do you feel God’s pleasure in you?  Does a personal calling or vocation sound foreign to you?

9 thoughts on “Why Do I Write? Thoughts from a Writer’s Retreat.

  1. Jerry- for my whole life I’ve been told I “should” write. Right. I didn’t want to – until now that is. Now I can’t stop – even though very little of it gets to page or posted. But, I’m grateful for word gifts – ways of shaping syntax, context, a small but thankful life tapped, tapped, tapped out marking the trail.

    What a delight to get to know Gerald, the writer.

  2. Jerry, for my entire life I’ve been told I “should” write. Right. I never wanted to – until now that is. The ticker tape of text is ever playing, even though very little of it ever gets to page or post. But, I’m grateful for word gifts – syntax, context, definition tap, tap, tapping out a messy, content, unexpected, thanks filled life.

    It’s a pleasure to meet Gerald, the writer.

Thanks for your time and thoughts.

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