I’m so afraid to write for your people, God. Me? I’m not qualified!
I’ve been writing in my diary, journal and Tumblr for years. It’s always been just for me. For instance, one of my earliest pieces was a spinoff on a Captain Underpants book, because I wasn’t satisfied with the original ending. I did that for me.
The Christian rumination that goes on in my Tumblr? Preaching to myself – writing for my own soul.
Me, me, me.
But suddenly, I’m called to this place where I write for others. And so much of that writing comes from a necessary pouring out of my life – honest conversations, after all.
That has seriously made writing very scary – everything is out there! I feel like my life is laid bare – that all my flaws are being magnified. Every blemish, every pockmark – there to be seen by the world.
Have you ever had the misfortune of watching a Channel 8 drama in high definition? It’s just like that.
My carnal inclination as an introvert is typically to flee immediately. You’re putting yourself out there. Run!
EMBRACING THE PRIVILEGE
Yet after some time, I came to have this quiet gladness in my soul. I had peace about the work I was doing as a writer for Thir.st.
I realised God has led me to a place where I am able to bring my passion and calling together – writing as a ministry. For good. This is a privilege: so many spend their whole lives searching for what they can-want-should do – and never actually find it.
But I’m able to thank God that I’m right where I should be.
Secretly, all my life I’ve quietly believed in this inconvenient truth: Faith can’t stay a private thing (Luke 11:33). We’re called to share the Gospel in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), and that involves putting our lives out there as testimonies.
Now I believe that my life is laid bare – laid down – so that God is exalted and magnified.
LEAVE YOUR NETS BEHIND
I’ve been asking friends who I know can write to contribute to Thir.st. The typical response is a non-committal shrug. “I’m shy”.
As a reserved person myself, I understand the hesitation – but there’s a distinction to be made between shyness and shame.
For instance, as I write, occasionally a little voice will tell me that I am the worst sinner in the office – a hypocrite. What a responsibility you’re taking on! YOU? Of all people?!
But greater than my temptation to believe this lie is my refusal to let shyness or shame hinder His work through me. Let me first be faithful – who knows who God will touch through my words, through the story He’s brought me through?
If I feel unworthy – fine. I should never forget that that is the glory of grace: That I truly am totally unworthy. And yet by grace, here I am writing these sentences.
The 12 Disciples’ world-transforming adventure began because they left their nets and followed Jesus. These fishermen left their shyness and their shame on the shores of the Galilee.
So, I tell that voice to go away because I know who I am in God. And I know He loves to use the lowly nobody to do His amazing work (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Jesus’ disciples weren’t amazing public speakers or accomplished writers – they were fishermen! They weren’t great, but they did great things for God.
And it never happened by their power or wisdom – lest they boast (1 Corinthians 1:29). Their world-transforming adventure began because “immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus” (Matthew 4:20).
They left their notions of success – and all their fears – behind. These fishermen left their shyness and their shame on the shores of the Galilee. And in simple obedience, they followed Him as disciples.
JARS OF CLAY
If you have a story that will take someone closer to Jesus, then that testimony matters. Your willingness matters – far more than your ability to write. The former gives the glory to God, for what He has done; the latter to yourself.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
We don’t begin as golden, gilded treasures pouring out the finest wine. We’re just … ordinary. And God wants us ordinary people.
We’re not meant to be flawless porcelain teacups, sitting unused in a display set. We’re supposed to be that scratched melamine mug that’s used the most. And it’s empty:
- Empty of shyness and shame – to be filled with divine boldness.
- Empty of pretension and agendas – to be filled with a higher purpose.
- Empty to be ever topped up with living water – poured out for those who thirst.
What makes us precious is what we hold within. And what makes us useful to the Kingdom, is what we pour out to people in a parched land.
Time to let down my net.
The thing about stories is that everyone has at least one good one to tell. If you’ve been wanting to put one of yours out there and you think it would help someone — starting with yourself — don’t be shy to introduce yourself in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!