I’ve always loved writing. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an author. I started many stories as a young girl, and by the time I was a teenager, I’d begun my first novel with grand plans to get it published. I lost myself in the words, finding my identity and value in a story world I created. As I reached my twenties, education, work, and then marriage gave me a deeper understanding of why God gave me a love for writing. But as I attended writers conferences and explored the publishing world and found a home for myself there, I again began to lose myself in my craft. I didn’t know who I was without it.
Several years ago, I received some criticism regarding a piece of my writing that made me stop. For days, I struggled with God until I laid down my writing, my love for words, and my belief in His calling for me. I asked Him to show me His way to use my words. Why had he given me this love for writing, and how could I use it without finding my identity in it?
Since then, God has shown me that my writing is meant to be a ministry of power, illumination, and healing. Words can be powerful, but only when used properly. By seeking His guidance, I have been able to recognize my gift for writing as simply a gift to be used, but not leaned upon in itself. The more I strive to empower, illuminate, and heal with my words, the more I must look to the One who gives the power.
The power of words
When God spoke the world into existence, He used words to give His creation shape. When He inspired the Biblical writers, they used words to give His message to the rest of the world. When Jesus came, the incarnation of God, He was the embodiment of God’s Word, the living Word.
Words have been a vehicle of power and life since the beginning of time. We use words to communicate, comfort, and condemn. But while words are important, they are only a signpost to the deeper meaning behind them. Words of comfort or condemnation only hold power when the one speaking or the one listening gives them power. Words can communicate powerful ideas, but only if the speaker and the listener understand the same language.
As the living Word, Jesus holds greater power than the written Word. His power is pure, undiluted by the interpretation of man. He is the true demonstration of the power that can dwell within words. Before we use our words to impact the world, we must truly know His power in our own lives.
The illumination of words
Joseph Conrad writes, “My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel—it is, before all, to make you see.”
The only way to guide someone out of the darkness of confusion and pain is to shine a light. Words, chosen with hope and confidence, illuminate the darkest mind. Our words illuminate the way to seeing the world as it truly is—full of God. Hopeful stories, fiction and nonfiction, invite readers to experience hope vicariously. These stories show readers how to make forgiveness and peace part of their own lives. Sometimes we have to join them at the beginning, in the dark places, but by using illuminating words, we can lead them to the light of God’s presence.
The healing of words
Writing is a ministry to both the writer and the reader. Like all good works, good writing will benefit the one doing and the one receiving. Tony Reinke writes, “Many Christians write today prolifically—some professionally, but many are literary amateurs. We do it for love of crafting words, love of seeing beauty, love of speaking truth, love of serving others, and love of glorifying God.” When writers put words on pages, they are exploring and resolving some of the conflict within themselves, as well as offering that enlightenment to their readers.
Words must be used cautiously, for as James 3:8 says, “no man can tame the tongue.” But with God’s help, words can be used to heal what is broken in the world. We never speak or write perfectly, but God has given us a way to offer solace and healing in the midst of sorrow and pain.
Words change the world
Writing is more than a thrilling way for writers to use their imaginations, discuss fascinating topics, or create beautiful verse. We write to edify and strengthen ourselves as well as future generations. Our desire to write is a gift to be used to bring the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. When every word we use is meant to empower, illuminate, and heal, our writing becomes a ministry that will change the world.
|Sheri Yutzi is a storyteller who believes that words hold unimaginable power. She’s passionate about writing life-changing literature for people of all ages. She edits for Daughters of Promise, an Anabaptist women’s magazine, and is working to get her first two young adult fantasy novels published. In the meantime, she writes short stories and articles for blogs and online magazines. She grew up as a conservative Mennonite and still practices that way of life. She lives with her husband Dan in Huntsville, Arkansas, and attends a small church in town. You can find Stories of the Stars, her short story collection, on Amazon.|