Last month, I spent a couple glorious days with some women who I admire, who spur me on to more and better words, who cheer for me from within the same race they’re running.
We talked about throwing away our Moses lists (all the reasons we don’t measure up in our own minds to the task and calling of writer). We talked about the need to be brave if we really want to say what we really want to say. We talked about why it hurts our souls so much when people respond ungraciously to our words, and how it cuts even deeper when the harsh words come from people of faith.
So in listening to these strong, authentic women share their thoughts and stories and weaknesses and fears, it made me realize that there are only four reasons that I write, which means, there are only four audiences.
I write to bring glory to God. He decided long, long ago that I would be an introvert who would figure out her life with words on a page. It’s my duty to fulfill what he placed within me (a joyful duty, I should add). And it’s my obligation to do so with tenacity and determination, all the while adding to the beauty of creation.
I write to bring healing to myself. If I don’t know how I’m feeling about something, I just need to sit down at my laptop or with pencil and journal, and odds are, a half hour later, I’ll know. Knots will be untangled. Memories will rise to the surface. Answers and guidance will show themselves clear.
I write to bring encouragement to others who are writers. If I tell my story in a true and scary way, I might help another writer tell her story in her true and scary way. One sweet new friend even said to me something like, “If you can be brave enough to tell your story, so can I.” It’s a tall order to be a part of an earthly cloud of witnesses cheering on other writers, but it’s also a huge privilege that I don’t take lightly.
I write to bring comfort to others. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that there are more deeply hurting women in the world than I ever would’ve imagined who are in my shoes, who are walking the path I walked the past eighteen or so years. God tells us in I Corinthians that he will comfort us so that we can comfort others. He doesn’t comfort us just so we can be comforted, though he does do that. He wants us to take it one step further, turning around and passing on the comfort like a baton.
What this means is that I write for those who will appreciate the words, who need to hear the story. I do not write for those who are standing there, stone in hand, ready to tear me down, ready to disagree, ready to tell me that writing isn’t an actual profession, ready to tell me that my words are unnecessary. I write for those with ears to hear and eyes to see; I write for me, I write for them, I write for no one else.
Thank you for writing this. It was a great encouragement to me. Like you, I’m a writer and an introvert, I write to figure things out, and I want to bring comfort to others but unlike you I don’t yet have the courage to write about all the negative and painful experiences. So your post is an encouragement to me that I may someday be able to write about difficult subjects and help people figure out their problems and find their way to Jesus as you do. This is especially because we live in such a plastic world pretending everything is fine because it is culturally unacceptable to show that we’re not as happy and “fine” all the time as society expects us to be. I’m from India by the way, and you’re probably an American but sometimes all of us post “I’m feeling awesome all the time” status messages too.
It would be great if you could write articles about how you started writing so honestly about difficult issues that lie at the heart and soul of so many people. Was it difficult? Did you ever face the fear of being judged negatively by people? If so, how did you overcome it and write anyway? I do hope you will write about this.
I’m grateful for your writings. I’m sure you touch many people through it and I’m sure you are a great blessing to many.
I have been following your blog for sometime, Elisabeth. I think that your writing is an encouragement not only to women who are going through divorce or a difficult marriage, but to every honest woman who is married. I say this because I believe firmly that marriage on earth today is a distorted shadow of what God intended it to be from the beginning; after all, Scripture says all creation lies in bondage and awaits the liberation when Jesus returns.
I am a pastor’s wife/pastor, mother of 3 boys. I don’t think I am an introvert, but I have always loved writing and talking, and have kept a journal for many years. Blogging was a new one for me, and initially, my writing was ‘sanitized’. And like Elf above, your writing led me to begin to be honest, though I must confess there are still times when I hold back.
God bless you, and your kids. One day, in heaven, we’ll see Him as He is, and all the questions will be answered. A fellow-traveller to Heaven, from way across the world-Mali.