On Answering "Why" - A Writer's Manifesto
Recently I joined a facebook writer’s group through Hope*Writers and one of the assignments placed on my desk was to write a manifesto. With everything going on around me, now did not seem like the time or space to do such a thing. But when I finally started, it poured out of me with precision and care. I am surprised to find that I have been writing this for some time. It is not a list of things I have achieved, but rather, a list of goals I commit to return to. Over and over, I will remember why I pick up my pen, why I carry the burdens I do, and why I share the words He entrusts to me.
Please read it, and please think about your own God-given mission in life. Take the time to savor His presence while you answer those patient, deep “why”s that knock softly on the business of your soul. And while you do that, be it in words or paint or numbers or motion or however God would have you impact your world, pray for me that I will be faithful in the work He has entrusted to me. Because I am praying for you. Then, please answer with your own manifesto.
As always, thank you for reading.
In no particular order, my writer’s manifesto:
I am a poet. Whether in poetry or prose, I will write words that make people’s hearts both ache for heaven and soar with hope. Words that plod are simple, words that fly take effort to compose. I will not shy away from this hard, good work.
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 KJV
I will write words that strengthen. Someone that stumbles on my words should find the eyes of their heart lifted and their feet strengthened for the road ahead.
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. Hab 2:2 ESV
I want my hands full. In one hand, I will hold reality. Not in cynical disdain, nor in naive expectation, but with honesty and grace-filled clarity for what it is and what it isn’t. In the other hand, I want to hold the weight of glory that is coming. I want that glory to ultimately shine so bright the stark suffering of my reality is overtaken with the solid hope of the future that Christ gives. I will hold both pain and hope faithfully and fully in my words.
…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:2 NLT
But in the valley, I will not force the hope of the gospel to “fix” my problems. I will learn to lament. I will grieve well with my words and let the doubts come and the pain pour out. God is able to hold my suffering and even my accusations. I will let Him be God. I will let the Lion of truth defend Himself and meet my needs. Only then can I know true healing, and only then will God truly be God in my life. I cannot cry out in my distress if I never allow myself to be in distress. I will humbly know my weakness and call on the Lord.
But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. Ps 18:5 NLT
I will not forget my calling. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, writer of good words, an evangelist in my sphere. When life gets busy and the people around me do not understand or share my vision or purpose, it is easy to think I made it all up. To forget why I do what I do. But God will remember and God will hold me to it.
Because the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 12:8
I will be a builder of signposts. Just like the exiled Jews needed to remember their way back to Jerusalem, we Christian pilgrims need to remember our way back to God. I want to bring others home. This world and culture are bent on destroying our walk as Christ-followers, and honestly they are doing a fantastic job. Simply telling Christians to be faithful will not produce true faithfulness. But drawing their hearts to the deep joy of knowing the Man that loves and died for their souls will. I will write words that will woo back the hearts of my sisters in Christ.
“Set up signposts, Make landmarks;
Set your heart toward the highway,
The way in which you went.
Turn back, O virgin of Israel,
Turn back to these your cities. Jer 31:21 NKJV
Shame is the opposite of joy. I will not let shame hold me back from joy. My children have taught me how to live and love and rejoice simply because they are alive. And with child-like faith, I will trust God with my burdens and let my heart sing through my words. I will not be ashamed of the gifts God has entrusted me to use for the blessing of the people around me.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame. Ps 34:5 NIV
I will not compare my path with another’s. They are not in the same place as me, and I am not on the same path as they. God is my judge, and He is the one I write to, for and in service of. The prophet Daniel’s name literally means “God is my Judge”.
But Daniel purposed in his heart to not defile himself with the king’s meat… Daniel 1:8
I will not say yes to more than I am able. I will let my yeses be genuine and my no’s be firm but gentle. I will safeguard the space my soul needs to do its work. I will rest. I will develop habits of trust for every new season.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Ps 127:2 ESV
I will safeguard the privacy of those I love. Many confide in me, many ask for prayer. I will be a trustworthy friend until the sunset of my life. Like Aaron, like Hur.
When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Ex 17:12 NIV
I will be faithful in prayer. I will have confidence, especially in the silent, barren times, that God hears my prayer and He answers them with wisdom and abundance. Either now, or later, He will answer. Light will bloom where and when He purposed.
Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Ps 97:11 ESV
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:20-21 NIV