On Writing Mistakes, the Law, and Gospel Freedom

You’re probably wondering why I wrote almost every day for a month and then basically dropped off the face of the Earth over the past couple weeks. Part of it is that there was a post I didn’t want to write, and nothing else came until I was obedient to what I felt the Lord compelling me to write. The other part of it is that I was completely exhausted. Reading and writing every day, on top of work and trying to be social, on top of being busy Saturday night through Tuesday night. Trying to be faithful to all of those things left me winded. But there’s more to it than that.

Lore Ferguson, a fellow Villager and a brilliant writer, listed out some advice for writers. If you’re even considering becoming a Christian writer, her thoughts will serve you well. I did find that there is a danger though. It’s the same danger that exists in all forms of work, and especially in ministry: the Law. I don’t necessarily mean all of the rules listed out in the Old Testament, but rather a quantitative way of measuring success and acceptance. I know that Lore’s words weren’t designed to place a weight on anyone, and yet my internal, sinful desire to see success and accomplishment took her brilliant advice and turned it into a millstone dragging me to the depths of the sea.

Why do I say this desire is sinful? Because it defies grace. It looks at the freedom found in the gospel and runs toward something else to define identity, value, worth, and success. Tullian Tchividjian speaks truth when he writes that we are all addicted to law. Instead of focusing on reading books and Scripture to hear from God for the sake of heart change, I read to find inspiration for my next blog. Instead of writing to be obedient and being content with obedience to Christ, I felt that I wasn’t really going to do well if I didn’t measure up to certain standards. Ironically, that’s when I felt myself grasping for the next set of words instead of feeling them flow out of me. That’s when I stopped writing.

I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like that. If I’m reading for the sake of a message and writing for the sake of accomplishment, then what gospel will I end up teaching? What power would be behind the words I write and speak if those words do not first change my heart toward God?

Yet, over the past couple of weeks as I’ve been trying to give myself a break from the weight I placed around my neck, I saw something else in my heart. All of this work toward being a good writer, and the necessity of it, betrayed a discontented heart. I was running toward this because I’m just not content with what I’m doing now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for my job and the things it allows me to have and do and the time I can spend with people because of it, but it’s not what I feel called to do. In the end, while I didn’t want to push for platform, but I wanted to push in a direction that was outside of where God has me right now.

So, while I have enjoyed the past couple weeks of recreation, amusement, and subconscious soul searching, I hope I can be more faithful in studying and writing for the right reasons and with the right motives. I want my words to count for something, to make an impact. That may mean not writing every day. It may mean waiting until I feel I have something worthwhile to say, or it may mean writing every day because God keeps giving me words to put on a page. I don’t know how that will work, but I know that I am as loved and accepted as I will ever be, right now, in Christ. This grates against our sensibilities, because we want to work for approval, but that isn’t the gospel. The gospel is that there’s nothing we can do, and nothing we need to do because Christ did it for us.

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