Monday, April 13, 2015

What should God's writer do?


by Jenny Glazebrook


I'm on the phone, the doorbell is ringing, the house is a mess, friends are lonely, I have Bible study to prepare, the church bulletin to edit, accommodation to arrange for my daughter's hospital visit, and all I want to do is write. In fact, my heart is yearning for it, my mind is working so fast the thoughts feel like a volcano about to erupt.
What should I do? There are so many 'shoulds' and I am driven by them.

The shoulds are never-ending so there's no time left to write and no time left to sit with my children and listen to what they have to say about their day. And there's no time left for God.
Because I'm busy doing things for God.
I don't sleep well. In the quiet of the night there is finally time to think and my mind starts to race with all the interrupted thoughts and ideas of the day. When I sleep I write in my dreams because God has given me this innate need to do it. It's like breathing.

When I wake I manage to fight through the tiredness, send the children off to school and prepare for Bible study.
As I prepare I read these words:
'Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.' (Matthew 7:21-23)

And a still, small voice breaks into my racing heart and mind: 
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, did we not listen to our neighbour and put together the church bulletin and run a Bible study? Did we not answer every call for help, did we not let good things drive us?'

Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

'But Lord,' I cry, 'didn't I do it all for you?'

Those words come back: ‘I never KNEW you.’

I find my heart breaking because I long to spend time with Him and know Him more. I long to worship Him and writing is the way I worship best. Loving my children and sharing Jesus with them is the way I worship best. Deep in my heart I know these are the things God has given me to do. They are not 'shoulds', they are a joy because I do them with him, not for him.

Where along the way did I start to listen to the guilt that said if I enjoy it or find it satisfying it can't be pleasing to the Lord?
When I am trying to please everyone, then I am not loving Him and knowing Him.

Lord, may we do the good works you have prepared for us. Please drown out those voices telling us writing is not good enough, not important enough, not spiritual enough. If, like Noah, we find it takes 100 years to accomplish our task, help us not to give up, not to be discouraged by those who laugh at us, who pressure us to build something else, not to be disheartened by those who built their arks years ago and are already safely floating through the storm, those who have managed to reach hundreds and convince them to come on board. Even if it is just our family you want us to reach, we will be satisfied with that, because we will have satisfied you.
May we write, not because we are driven, but because it refreshes our soul and deepens our relationship with you.


Jenny is the wife of Rob Glazebrook and the mother of Micah, Merridy, Clarity and Amelia. They live in the country town of Gundagai with lots of pets. Jenny is the author of 4 published novels with the final 3 of her Aussie Sky Series due out this year.  Jenny enjoys inspirational speaking, and is passionate about sharing her writing knowledge and experience and encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. To find out more about her and her books, go to www.jennyglazebrook.com

19 comments:

  1. All too true, Jenny! A refreshing blog, thank you.

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    1. I was just reading what your interests are, Catriona, and I know you understand! May God give us all direction, perspective and joy in all we do.

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  2. We writers seem wired to ask ourselves these questions! I have often thought that Christians who surf, sew, knit, bake, visit (add numerous harmless, healthy, perhaps virtuous hobbies) probably don't think as much about whether they 'should' do the thing they love and are good at. Maybe they just do it joyfully and thankfully, mindful that it isn't all-consuming. It can be hard giving ourselves the same permission. I've drafted an article about it that I might share one day.

    I'm glad you are writing. I have bought the Kindle versions of a couple of your books and looked at your website. The Child series looks intriguing. :)

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    1. I hope you do share your article one day! And it's always encouraging to hear when people are reading what we write. May God continue to give you joy in your writing journey.

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  3. Hi Jenny,
    Thank you for this most convicting post. It's so true, those 'urgents' have a way of crowding in on us, and people have a way of making us believe that these should be our main priority, rather than the 'best' that God has filled our hearts with. Your words here help us deal with the false guilt we often take on ourselves.
    Your prayer at the end is excellent to take away with us.

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    1. Thanks Paula. I have been so blessed by your writing and have passed on your books to many people who I know have been blessed by them, too. In the light of eternity, your writing certainly matters!

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  4. I know this feeling - the urge to write against the pile up of domestic and other tasks that just need doing. It's hard at times to get the right balance but thanks for the reminder, Jenny, that writing shouldn't be shoved to the side as trivial or unimportant.

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    1. And thanks so much for the work you do with CWD, Jeanette. I'm glad you make the time for it so that we as writers can grow and encourage one another.

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  5. Thanks, Jenny--I love how your warm personality comes through in your writing! And I particularly liked that last line of your prayer and of the whole blog: 'May we write, not because we are driven, but because it refreshes our soul and deepens our relationship with you.'

    You know, a few weeks ago, I read that same passage from Matthew's Gospel you mention and the thought that came to me was, 'Lord, Lord, did I not prophesy in your name and ... and ... and write many books?" How sad it would be if the Lord had to then say, 'I never knew you.' Sometimes I think we can be so driven to write that we lose sight of God in it all. So, however we spend our time, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord and our ears open to his voice.

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    1. I love how God often chooses to challenge and grow his children in similar ways at the same time. Did you happen to read the passage as part of a KYB Bible study too, Jo-Anne? And yes you're right that even writing books can be a 'good' thing that gets in the way of our knowing and loving him.

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  6. Thanks Jenny - for an excellent post. Bless you for speaking to us. Yes, the shoulds are many. And yes, that passage has struck me many times - and I read it again today! Very scary. Are we doing His will? Which is after all what matters.

    It was lovely to read of your 2 passions - spending time with your children and writing - two definitely God given ones. I'm so impressed at all the writing you do - in spite of a busy life with 4 children and many pets. Well done Jenny. You are an inpsiration to all of us.

    It's often tempting to do what we think is good or needful. O that we hear God's voice clearly and obey. There is no other way. Thanks for showing it to us beautifully Jenny. May God continue to bless and use your writing for His glory.

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    2. I have to admit our 'many pets' are probably one of the 'distractions' Anusha, but we do see them as a blessing. They're great therapy for the kids.
      Thanks for your encouraging comments!

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  7. As scary as that passage is (and perhaps Paul's reprise in 1 Cor 13 if I speak with the tongue of angels and have not love, I'm a sounding gong) - I think our standing with Jesus comes back to the relationship we with God through His loving grace, by faith in Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross. We can never do enough to earn God's love and approval, yet what Jesus has done for us is already enough (and not more is needed). Not that that is an easy believerism - for if we have truly turned from our old way of thinking, and turned to God in faith, then we have been renewed and are indwelt by His Spirit - so we now want to love and serve God and our neighbour, that is the natural out flowing of the Spirit in our lives.

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    1. Completely agree, Jeanette! I once saw a skit where someone was feeling guilty about 'letting God down'. God's response in the skit was something along the lines of 'What makes you think I need anyone to hold me up?"
      And yet out of love and gratefulness for all he's done we don't want to disappoint him or waste our lives on trivial, insignificant things.

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  8. Yes, sometimes it's difficult to find the balance between it all. Sometimes we do need to stop and smell the roses, and remember who made them.

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    1. I like that, Lynne. I'll remember that next time I see some roses or hear that saying : )

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  9. Thank you Jenny, you heard me thinking aloud, didn't you?

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  10. Thanks Jenny; how easy it is to put our writing to the bottom of the list when in fact it is bursting to flow.

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