But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Several years ago, writing and I fell into a love-hate relationship. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than turning a blank document on Microsoft Word into a colorful, angst-ridden world that gives life and breath and movement to the characters inside my head (note: I did say characters, not voices). Over the course of four hundred pages’ worth of troubles and triumphs, these characters serve to reflect the nuances of my relationship with God—the whining and agonized prayers, the comfort and grace-filled epiphanies, the stubbornness that eventually gives way to surrender.
On the flip-side, there is nothing more devastating to my sense of purpose than living with the insatiable urge to write and having the time to write…yet the words
Those are the days Perfectionism barrels in, uninvited, to perch on my shoulder with its unforgiving claws. Seconds later it’s joined by the Inner Critic, who, knowing I’m prone to pessimism and self-condemnation, takes great delight in badgering me, beating me with ugly, vicious labels and lies that, in my frustrated state, I believe.
It’s in this state that I shake my fist at God and cry out, “If You gave me the passion and talent to write, why didn’t You give me the creativity to make something of it?”
For I used to believe God was behind my inability to craft a plausible story. Correction: a story that met my ridiculously high standards.
And then a few weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend who is aware of my struggles. After listening to me vent about my latest writing woes and lament over the myriad responsibilities infringing on my allotted writing time, Linda stated matter-of-factly, “It sounds like the devil doesn’t want you to write.”
(Sometimes it’s hard to hear God’s voice. Other times, it ricochets off the rafters. That day, it came through the simple words of a friend.)
Why hadn’t it hit me sooner?
God is Love. Would Love offer me a gift only to dangle it out of reach and tease me with it to the point I’m a paralyzed heap of living matter sobbing on the kitchen floor (yes, I’ve been there)? Love would not…but the devil would. It fills him with twisted glee to see God’s children immobilized by despair and insecurities; that makes them ineffective and ineffective means a job isn’t getting done for the Kingdom.
Too bad for him God is also Truth, the knowledge of which happens to set His children free. And when His Truth poured from the words of my friend, the devil’s chains disintegrated; his hold over me is gone.
Now, I’m not saying all my writing hours since then have been happy-happy-joy-joy, but I don’t approach my stories with the feeling God’s against me anymore—and that’s empowering.
Something else I’ve learned: writing is not only one of my strengths, but it’s also one of my weaknesses. I understand now that God has purposely left some gaps in my abilities in order to leave room for Him. These gaps force me to rely on His strength and His guidance…and they allow me to experience His presence and His pleasure.
As the apostle Paul says in Romans 8:1, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” [italics mine]. It’s time we all rise from the kitchen floor and tell that devil where to go.