There are so many good reasons not to write. I mean, do people even read anymore? Everyone has something to say and the internet is a virtual cacophony. Why add to the noise? Especially when writing is hard. And lonely.
Is it even worth it?
The Christian writer wrestles with these questions, as all writers do. Indeed, all writers ask themselves these questions at least once in a career, or more likely, at least once a day.
But the Christian’s response is unique. The Christian’s response to “Why write?” is not the same as the non-believer’s. It is not to make a name for oneself, or to become a bestseller, or even necessarily (although perhaps secondarily) to inform or opine or create.
The Christian’s response to “Why write?” is stewardship.
Writing is Stewardship
Writing is like everything else in life: an opportunity to practice stewardship. The faithful Christian reflects on all areas—birthplace, socioeconomic level, education, home, family, skills and abilities, passions, pain, everything—and asks the Lord, “How would you have me use this?”
Specifically, the Christian writer asks, “Lord, how would you have me use my desire to write, my ability to write, the resources you’ve given me to write (time, know-how, a laptop, a platform) in the name of Jesus?”
God’s answer is found in the greatest commandments: we are to write in order to love him and to love our neighbors (Luke 10:27). We are called to steward our writing skills and opportunities in order to love God and love others.
Coming to this conclusion is key. Because writing is hard. Not only is the actual task of writing hard (thinking critically, putting pen to paper, formulating thoughts, communicating in a helpful and winsome way if others are going to read it) but the internal struggle in writing is hard.
The Inner War of the Writer
An inner and spiritual war wages in every Christian writer. We swing wildly from self-aggrandizing to self-loathing. One day we think our writing is solid gold. And the next we think it’s garbage and we’re ashamed that anyone ever saw it. We fear the opinions of others. What will they think? we ask over and over inside our heads. Did I offend? Did I come off as too strong? Too weak? Was my theology right? Was my illustration silly? Do I even know what I’m talking about?
The inner war can wage so violently that we are tempted to give up. If the work is hard and lonely and the internet is noisy and the bookshelves at the bookstores are already overflowing, why persist?
Because God created you and me with a desire and a drive to write. It’s his gift, his creation. And he asks us to use it to love him and to love others.
Writing is Worship and Mission
As for loving God, Christian writing is an exercise in meditating on the Lord our God from the Scriptures. It’s a tool of sanctification, allowing us to grapple with what we learn, to put it into cohesive thoughts, to focus on God’s goodness and his work in our world. Writing grows the inner man, even as the war wages.
And as for loving others, writing, in God’s hands, is ministry (according only to his will and good pleasure). It’s one way you and I can love our neighbors, to serve our readers. Because of our unique makeup and context, the unique audience we each have, and the unique relationship we have with the dear ones who read our words, God can use them for their sanctification as well.
In this way, writing friends, writing is not about you and me. Writing is about the Author, the Giver of Life. We are his. Our words, our writing, our blogs and books and Bible studies are an offering to him, an act of worship and an act of mission.
When I am tempted to self-loathe or self-promote, when I am paralyzed with fear of what others think of me, when I am tempted to throw in the towel altogether, I must remember, my writing is not about me. I must fix my eyes on Jesus.
We Write by Faith
Our writing is by him and through him and for him (Colossians 1:16). We are his children and he alone has equipped us and called us to write as an act of faith and not one of sight. God is in the heavens and will do as he pleases with the words we put out into his world. The results are up to him; they are not our concern. Our concern is obedience, faithfulness, stewardship.
So we write for worship and for mission, and with humility and begging God to lead us and help us when we falter. We renew our minds with the Word of God, we call on strength and leading from the Spirit of God, and we confess our sins and lock arms with the people of God. It is with these three gifts—the Word, the Spirit, and the people of God—that we equip ourselves for the call of writing.
It’s true. There are many reasons not to write. Our insecurities and uncertainties are a mile long. But God, the Christian writer asks, is honoring him worth it? Is speaking grace and truth in a dark world worth it? Even if we fail? Even if we stumble? Even if we’re clumsy?
Yes, because our writing is not about you and me. For the Christian writer, it’s about the Lord our God, the giver of life and good gifts and words. He is our redeemer and works even through our weaknesses.
Writing is stewardship. It is worship. It is mission. It is by faith, by him and through him and for him.
Jen Oshman is a wife and mom to four daughters and has served as a missionary and pastor’s wife for 18 years on three continents. She currently resides in Colorado, where she and her husband serve with Pioneers International, and she encourages her church-planting husband at Redemption Parker. Her passion is leading women into a deeper faith and fostering a biblical worldview. She writes about that at Jen Oshman.