By Amy Bohannan
We’ve all been there at some point or another. (Some of us more than others.)
Lists have been written of ways that we can overcome. Step by step lists, bullet pointed lists, check marked lists—too many ways to overcome this terrible creative blockage in our brains.
On most lists, though, I find the most important step is omitted. In fact, I find it’s the most forgotten and neglected of all. Imagine that—the most crucial step to creativity, the least remembered.
What would happen with our creativity if we remembered it always?
How is it that we can so easily forget that we have within our grasp access to the Author of the most excellent and profound of stories? We forget that we hold His tale within our very hearts. We forget the Tailor of all the most diverse characters of the universe. We forget the Painter of the landscape, the settings and stage on which His tales unfold.
We forget that each of us treasure in our hearts our own story of salvation—written by Him.
We forget to ask Him—the Author of salvation and Inventor of redemption.
After all, does not each of our stories contain that which He began?
Does not each story have a fall, a battle, and a redemption?
The first, most crucial, most elementary, yet the most abandoned step to creativity: pray.
I know, I know. It probably sounds cliche, right?
I find that I forget all the time to include God in my writing. To ask His advice. To ask His opinion. To ask Him what He wants me to write next!
If it’s a cliche, it’s a good cliche. Oh, may it be overused! May God’s writers ask of Him too much!
Reasons you should pray before you write:
1. He is the Author of story itself
His story became the most popular book ever—the top ranking book sold in the history of the world. Its sales have boasted at over 6 BILLION copies!
Besides the numbers that prove the obvious fame of the Bible, think about the elements contained within the pages of the Holy Book.
Breathed by God, between the leather bonds there unfolds a story that tells the history of mankind—how he was created, how he fell, how he battled evil, how he was redeemed, how he overcame. Every good story contains these elements that God originally penned.
Think about it. If a story didn’t have a ‘fall’—an inciting incident in which something goes wrong—what kind of story would it be? Or what about the battle between good and evil? Or redemption in which good always prevails?
Think about your favorite stories. Can you think of one that do not have any of these elements? And if they did (some have tried), did you find the story satisfying? Most assuredly not.
God holds the keys to the perfect story. Why not ask Him for advice on yours?
2. He knows the hearts of men
The world is desperate for hope. Whether they will acknowledge it or not, they are yearning for God—for His glory, His redemption.
We, as unworthy authors—ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, have a most worthy mission of bringing His word through the art form of writing to a desperate people’s starving hearts.
If you are seeking the heart of God, you are seeking to touch the hearts of His people to glorify Him. Only He knows what is happening in the hearts of men and what they need to hear or read. We can speculate and think that we know what the world needs to hear, but ultimately, He knows exactly what kind of tale or writing is needed to touch the inner core of man.
If we are obedient in seeking Him, He just might be able to use us to be the writer of that tale.
3. There may be a reason your story is stuck
When our mission is not blessed of God, it can become stifled. Sometimes, writers block can be a blessing in disguise. A good time to evaluate the content of our story. Is it worth the time that we are spending on it? Does it conform to the canon of Philippians 4:8? Does it ring true to your own heart?
Or maybe it’s not time to write that particular story yet.
There is a story in my heart that I have mulled over for years, but every time I sit down to start writing it, I find myself drawing a blank. Where to begin? What to say?
Do I stop writing? No!
But don’t force that story now. It may be for another time. There may be another tale that God has for you to write…
“To everything there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
4. Writing can be an art form of worship
Our hands, our mouths, our voices—our very breath is evidence of the grace of God. Colossians 3:17 tells us to do everything—whether word or deed—in the name of the Lord Christ Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Our writing can be a form of worship to our King. An art of gratitude as we pour out all that He has given us through minds that are able to comprehend, through fingers that are able to type, through voices able to speak and ask questions, through eyes that are able to read…through creative talents and unique purpose.
We have an incredible opportunity to worship Him and glorify Him through the art of story.
By writing on our knees, our faces turned to Him, His heart is quickened at the sight of us.
5. He promises to reward us
I don’t preach a prosperity gospel. I don’t say that if we do all the right things, that we’ll get everything that we want.
But what I do preach is the abounding riches of the rewards of obedience.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
The context of this verse is speaking to the elementary needs of this world. Food and clothing—Jesus tells us not to worry about these things.
How much more should we not worry about what we should write?
When we are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, our hearts are bent toward the things of God. We are on a constant look out for evidences of Him—sightings of His promises fulfilled, His glory shown, His grace being sufficient. We find ourselves satisfied in the simple things—because in our hearts we realize that they are more complex than we could ever imagine.
He promises us to supply us with everything that we need when we follow Him. Rest assured, we will be rewarded for seeking Him—for drawing near to Him, for yearning to become more and more like Him.
As we become more in tune with the heart of God, our own hearts will overflow with words that bring glory to His Name. We will find ourselves at a loss, with not enough time to write all the words spilling from our hearts—neither enough pages in the world to contain them.
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”John 21:25
God is glorified through our writing—our stories, our essays, poems, songs; our every written word is to be treated as an offering at His feet.
When we find ourselves stuck in that terrible rut of writer’s block, remember that we must not allow it to win over us. Our pens are mighty weapons when anointed in prayer and wielded in reverence in the ultimate battle conquering evil.
As we live the Story of Redemption, may we never forget to seek the Author of Salvation as we weather the many trials and joys of storytelling!