“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion
Stories are powerful. We read and write stories in order to make sense of our lives, to understand
others, to make a point and evoke change. We watch TV shows and movies because they tell stories, and in every story something is revealed about ourselves and our world.
We need stories to escape this world for a little while, to show us how to live (or not to live), to point us to something higher, draw us into another life. Even blogging is storytelling – telling your story, reading another’s. It’s sharing life together – and life itself is a grand story, written by the greatest Author.
When Annie invited me to write about writing, I knew I had to start with stories. Stories make up our lives, and as Didion points out, we need them in order to live.
I know most of us aren’t fiction writers, but that’s beside the point. You tell a story in everything you do and everything you say. And, quite simply, stories are made up of words. And words are powerful. They can bring blessings and curses, change and grace. God created this world by speaking. Words.
“Words are things,” writes Lord Byron, “And the smallest drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions of people think.”
We have the power to invoke change, bring smiles and create places of blessing with our words. And as writers, writing is our gift, it is the art we create because we are made in the image of a Creator. All of our work, our creation, echoes His and reminds the world that we are made in His image. And this act of creating is really an act of worship, using the gifts He’s given us and doing what we were meant to do.
And the funny thing is that I find most writing to be absolutely brutal. I love it and I hate it and you
should have seen me two weeks ago when I was agonizing over my first story for my advanced fiction class. I was a mess, and the story was really pretty bad.
But I love writing because it is a gift, and one that is indeed powerful. I love the process of birthing
a story, bringing forth words and life and thoughts and stories from scattered letters. All writing is
valuable; writing emails to my far-away friends allows us to stay in touch and involved in each other’s lives; it fosters communication and deepens our friendship. Writing (more like scrawling) in my journal allows me to untangle my thoughts and emotions at the end of my pen, to understand what is going on, remind myself of God’s promises, and find peace. Even blogging gives me the chance to share life with my readers and other bloggers, and joining in the spaces of mutual encouragement, life lessons and fun moments shared on the internet.
The ability to write is a gift. And the words you write are a gift back to God, and to the world.
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