Writing as Worship: An Introduction

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A couple of weekends ago I had the great privilege of speaking at the LifeLight music festival. In addition to speaking, I taught a spoken word workshop, which unexpectedly became one of my favorite parts of the weekend. To be honest I was more than a little nervous, because I don’t actually know how to write spoken word. I just write it. I took a creative writing class in college and actually didn’t do that well—especially in the poetry section. I never knew what to write about, and forcing the words to have a certain rhythm and rhyme that conformed to the rules stripped me of the freedom and joy of writing. I have great respect for those who can write proper poetry, because I cannot.

So instead of talking about the rules, I simply shared about how I started writing spoken word: I was in Uganda, and God just put words on my heart and out onto the page. I talked about the process I typically go through when writing, and talked about how our purpose behind writing, as in all things, should be to worship God.

After the workshop one of the participants told me that incorporating writing into our quiet times was a great idea, that it could be an interesting way to shake up our times with God. And honestly, I had never thought of it like that before! My Bible and my journal are never far apart, and I often write during my quiet times. Her comment made me wonder about how I can be more intentional about writing during my quiet times. How can I take something I love—writing—and use it to learn more about God and grow closer to Him? So I’m starting a little experiment. Every Saturday for the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting a little devotional with some writing exercises and ideas. We’ll see how it goes. It might be a fun activity, if you’d like to join me!

Before we start with that, though, I thought I’d post a few tips to keep in mind when incorporating writing into your quiet times.

1. Remember your purpose. We are meant to glorify God. This should be our aim in all things, including writing. Naturally, it would be lovely to write the next young adult novel that gets turned into a movie franchise, or a viral blog post that leads to a book deal and makes us just famous enough to be on Dancing With the Stars. And as much as being on DWTS seems like a good goal, making that the purpose of my writing is just going to mess me up and take away my joy. I exist to glorify God, so the point of my writing should be to glorify God. Use your writing to experience the joy of spending time with God, of hearing His voice, communicating with Him, of worshipping Him. Writing is a lot more fun if you’re not worried about a book deal.

2. Don’t worry about being any good. Look at point number one again. When your purpose is glorifying God, it doesn’t matter if your writing is any good by the world’s standards, because that’s not the point. This isn’t English class. Nobody’s grading your writing. In fact, you may be the only person to ever read it. Just write freely. If you make a mistake, no worries. That’s what erasers and backspace keys are for.

3. Don’t compare. Have you ever read something amazing and wished you would’ve written it instead? I do this all the time. I forget point number one, that my purpose behind everything should be to glorify God. Instead, I read something awesome that someone else wrote, and I get worried that there isn’t room for another writer (me) on this planet. I tend to worry that there’s only a certain amount of creativity, a certain amount of awesome stories in the world. And when someone else writes something amazing, there’s a little less amazingness for the rest of us. This is, of course, ridiculous. I need to remember that I serve the God of infinite creativity. Just look at the world around you! There is such diversity and variety. And so I believe that God can supply enough creativity, enough stories to go around. Your voice is unique, given to you by the immeasurably creative Creator. There’s no need to compare your writing with others!

 

I hope these tips help as you incorporate more writing into your walk with God. Check back Saturday for some writing ideas!

 

2 Thoughts on “Writing as Worship: An Introduction

  1. So cool! It’s so hard to teach on something you know how to do naturally because like you said you just know it. I’m so glad you figured it out!! Can’t wait to read more spoken words from your quiet times!

  2. Courtney on September 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm said:

    My dearest JJ,

    I just love you. And thus blog is going to inspire so many people, including me. Keep writing. You have a gift dear friend. 🙂

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