For many years, indeed, for as long as I can remember, my identity has been totally and inextricably bound up in being a writer. It’s not just what I am, I told myself, it’s who I am. Sadly, over the years, that perception led me to a place that was filled with stress and burden. In fact, it became like a prison in a way, a prison of my own making.
Today I am declaring (with thanks to Ted Dekker), that no, indeed, I am not a writer. Every time those words enter my consciousness I feel the chains fall away. I don’t have to produce. I don’t have to publish. I don’t have to succeed. It is not who I am.
I am, in fact, a daughter of my Father in Heaven, the King of this universe who demands nothing of me but that I accept His forgiveness, return His love and let that love flow through me to others.
Yes, I believe He has given me the task of writing as a means to spread that love and a way to discover more and more about Him myself, but writing is what I do, not who I am. It’s all a matter of perspective. When my perspective is correct, I am free to be who I was meant to be and then to do what I was meant to do with joy and a sense of freedom. When my perspective is not correct, what I do becomes a chore – I worry about marketing and sales instead of praying for the hearts and minds of my readers; I fear not being able to produce the work I should (the blank page terrifies me); when someone points out a mistake in a published piece I feel humiliated; when my work is rejected I become depressed; when I don’t win a contest or award I become angry and cynical.
Yes, I admit, all of these things were happening to me. I knew these feelings were wrong, I struggled against them, but I couldn’t deny they were real. And all of it was beginning to crush my creativity. It became a struggle to produce. The joy was being bled away.
So, it may seem like a counter-productive thing to do, but I have decided to declare this statement to myself every morning when I sit down at my computer: I am not a writer. I am the daughter of my Father in Heaven who loves me. Nothing else matters. When those words have sunk deep into my soul, then, and only then, will I write.
So, will you join me?
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22,23).
Oh yes, Marcia! Your words sink deep into my heart and give me peace, God’s peace! Only very recently have i dared to say I am a writer. Now I begin to feel that pressure I put upon myself and your words pull me back from that pit. Thank you! By the way, it was your course on writing devotionals that set me on the writing road. Thank you again!
You are most welcome, Andrea. Thanks for posting a comment. Blessings, M
I love this Marcia! I too have been struggling with this very thing and wondering why I was so stressed. It actually was making me think that maybe I was on the wrong track after all. What freedom this will bring! I am going to print this out and read it every day! God bless you sweet sister
So glad it helped, Lisa! Blessings back to you. :)m
Hi Marcia… great article and one which certainly resonates as I think of the pressures and stress of deadlines and the industry in general. You are a gifted child of the Father above who is doing wonders with the gifts you have been given… all the honour and glory goes to Him who gives all. I would have to add the words for you …”Well done good and faithful servant.”
Thanks, Rolly. Blessings to you. m
My first reaction was, “you bet I’ll join you!” We put way too much pressure on ourselves! But then I thought, what about the person who has made writing his sole source of income? Is he a writer? What if a plumber declared “I am not a plumber and I will not plumb until those words sink in”…. or a doctor said “I am not a doctor?” Their clients/patients would surely be looking elsewhere. I don’t know. I see what you’re saying. Just stirring the pot a little. You’ve given us food for thought and you’ve done it beautifully.
Thank you Marcia for a liberating blog.
What a great piece of writing, Marcia who isn’t a writer! A good dose of balance and perspective from someone who, with God’s leading, has earned the right to be listened to on this subject.
Thanks Patricia. So glad it blessed you. :)m
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985): “All of you need to drink in deeply the gospel truths about the eternal nature of your individual identity and the uniqueness of your personality. You need, more and more, to feel the perfect love which our Father in Heaven has for you and to sense the value he places upon you as an individual. Ponder upon these great truths, especially in those moments when (in the stillness of such anxiety as you may experience as an individual) you might otherwise wonder and be perplexed” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 222).
“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 :)m
Hi Terrie – you misunderstand. I don’t intend to stop writing and a plumber supporting his family should not stop plumbing! But I will do it under the grace and knowledge that what I do does not affect my true identity as a daughter of the King – it’s kind of like Caroline Arends’ song that says, “I have a body; I am a soul.” Too often we live as though it’s the other way round. It’s all part of being truly “in Christ” – a phrase used over and over again in scripture. Once we are there we ‘do’ out of love and gratitude and joy and in complete freedom, not in pressure and driven-ness. Make sense? m
Yep. Just tryin’ to generate a little discussion by stirring the pot.