I’ve always loved writing. I still remember (and admittedly still have!) my first award-winning piece: “The War Against Trash,” written in elementary school. It was a compelling story about the battle between Cleanville and Trashville. Don’t worry, Cleanville won. 🙂
Actually, in addition to the above piece, I have a bin filled with almost every essay and story I have ever written from middle school through college and beyond. I’ve always placed so much of me in my writing, I could never have the heart to throw any of it away.
In recent months I have not only realized my writing is a gift, but also God has been teaching me how to use this gift in ways which please Him. I write His Word. I write prayers. I write encouragement. I write praise. I write blogs. 🙂 In the same way Philippians 4:8 encourages the believer to meditate on those things that are “true…honorable…just… pure…lovely…commendable…worthy of praise,” so I believe my writing should reflect the same. I should use His gift for His glory.
One of the fears I had at the beginning of my recent journey to change was how and what I could write about as God changed me. It always seemed to me that it often took a negative emotion to bring about my most expressive writing. Yet God has used this journey–a journey which indeed began in a negative way–not only to transform me but also to transform my writing. I often find myself now almost unable to write the negative–only the positive. And it is not a denial of the negative that keeps me from writing about it, for I know the negative exists. I know evil, poor choices, and heartache exist. We live, after all, in a broken world. Sin indeed abounds. Yet as Paul states in his letter to the Romans, where sin abounds, there grace abounds much more (Romans 5:8). God gave me writing as a gift of grace for His glory…not as a means of grumbling and complaining.
It is as I reflect on this transformation of my writing, I am reminded of Paul’s instructions to Timothy. Fanning something requires action. It is not just one swipe that causes the flame to grow; rather it is the continuous act of fanning that creates the wind strong enough to cause change. If I am to fan into flame the gifts God has put in me, then I must act upon them. And I can’t just use them once in awhile. That produces nothing long term. Just as muscles will atrophy without being used, so God cannot expand on His gifts and use them unless I act on them. A baby does not learn to walk unless he takes that first step; he doesn’t learn to walk by standing still. And so I cannot use my gift doing nothing. It takes practice and persistence. And sure, in the same way a toddler will stumble at first, I may stumble as I step out in the gifts God has given to me. Yet I must not allow fear of failure to stop me from fanning into flame the gifts God has given to me.
And neither should you.
What gifts has God blessed you with? What passions overwhelm your spirit and yearn to be loosed? Act! Take those first steps. Sure, it may be awkward at first. Yes, you may fall… Maybe even fail miserably at times. But if you fail, fail forward. Reach forward toward the goal, the goal of glorifying God with the gifts He has entrusted to you. And as you do–as you begin fanning–you will start to see smoke rising, then a spark, and pretty soon a flame. And as you continue to fan the flame, God’s Spirit will build a fire–a brightly burning fire no man can quench.