Finding My Writing Voice By Hearing His

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” — Psalm 95:7-8

Thirty years in ministry left her with a small mortgage, few close friends and a husband who unexpectedly left her. When he died, he carried her usefulness with him. She’ll spend her remaining days pinned to a blue wing chair and her fear.

A string of her husband’s bad investments and unwise choices left her desperate to retain her job. The first time her boss touched her it sickened her. His advances and her inability to reject them cloaked her in shame that destroyed her health alongside her dignity.

No one believed her childhood secret. The secret clawed at her vulnerability and encased it in the steely fingers of independence. She dated only men she could manipulate with sex and control – men she believed couldn’t hurt her. She gave them her body as a desperate plea for her heart.

“Be true to yourself.”

“Find your writing voice.”

“Write only for you.”

I consume these messages about writing every week. It’s not that I think they’re wrong. But I do find them lacking.

I don’t want to be average for God; I suspect you don’t either. What if He didn’t call us to write to be our own voice? What if He called us to be His?

The above are all real women whom I know in my walk-around life. Would it make their story more poignant if I told you one of the stories was my own? Would it make their story more important because it came from my voice?

These women will never sit behind a computer screen. They will never pen their story. Does this strip their story of compelling lessons? Does it make it less worthy to be told?

I think no. As Christian writers we should be on the lookout not only for excellence in technique but in representation. Whose thoughts do we write? Whose voice speaks?

If our primary concern is for ourselves, at best we will author a memoir but if our heart is for His, we will lead others to the rivers of healing and forgiveness. Today I want to challenge us to press the pause button on our search for self.

Let’s listen today not for the sound of our voice but for His.

QUESTION: What as God been telling you to do with you life, your writing, and living for His glory alone? Please share it with us in the comments sections below.

  • Great post. I am also feeling compelled to share stories of people who will never sit behind a computer and write them. In addition to being willing to write my own stories as God calls me to, I feel compelled to help others tell their stories to encourage and challenge others.

    • Tammy, that is so cool! It thrills me when I get to be a voice for the voiceless. Can’t wait to read the stories you are collecting!

  • Wow! What an excellent post. I lovr it. I am still learning and your post taught me a lot. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Pilar. I’m pretty sure when it comes to writing we’re all in for a lifelong journey. So glad we have each other for support!

      • Amen and amen. I want to personally thank you for always taking the time to support me. You have a beautiful heart my sister.

  • Shannon, I absolutely love reading articles like this one! I love being challenged to review my motives and check myself at every turn. Thank you for that.

    I believe it is very important for believers to take a step back every once in a while and evaluate ourselves, our ministry, our writing, and our goals. I’ve been doing this for myself as of late and our church will be doing it this Sunday evening as we launch our “Won & 1” evangelism campaign. (We’ve been “won” to the Lord, now we need to focus on some “1” else.)

    I wrote an article on my personal blog this morning about how our suffering and even death can (and is!) to be used for the glory of God. Blessings to you, my sister in the Lord!

    http://www.crazyaboutchurch.com/dying-for-the-glory-of-god/

    • Charles, you definitely have a gift for challenging others and I love that!

  • OH yes. Love this. Thank you, Friend!

  • Shannan, Charles is right. This is a keeper! Thanks for stretching my thinking and my faith. ~Heidi

  • Nicely done, Shannon! I do very much think that you can be true to yourself and write with your voice while writing the stories of others. In fact, that can be a huge part of being true to yourself and telling the stories of others can be your voice, if that is something you are called to do.

    I’m not sure about writing only for yourself — though that is an approach sometimes people need to take if they aren’t yet ready to handle the rejection that sometimes comes as a result of being a writer.

    • Oh the rejection… Isn’t it great to know He never rejects us? 🙂

  • Shannan, hon, you are speaking my language on so many levels. Thank you for challenging us. We are not meant to be average. We serve the Most High God. There is nothing average about it. But the goal…well that’s where it gets heavy…the goal is to point to Christ. Again, nothing average about it. Nothing at all.

  • Jedidja

    Thank you Shannon. As a Dutch writer am I very glad with this blog.

  • Julie Merrin

    Shannon, thanks so much for this reminder. I have a lot of stories rolling around in my head and my heart of people I have met during my 19 years in Indonesia. Yes, I do have my own story to tell. But I also have their story. More importantly, I have HIS story as He works in all of our lives.

  • Shannon, this really challenges me in some respects. My heart in writing is always to share God’s glory along my faith journey, but what I’ve not considered is writing someone else’s story. Of course, I sort of write my husband’s story when I share my/our testimony. Something I know he will probably never do. It’s just not who he is. But I know other stories (in my own family) that if written with God’s voice, would be highly encouraging to my readers. Thank you for giving me writing inspiration to pray over. I definitely don’t want His message to come across as just average. His story – His words – His action in the world around me is powerful.

  • Terri Bacon

    I am just starting to write publicly…I was raised in a cult that took nearly 50 years of my life. It has taken nearly 14 years to be clear enough to write. I am grateful I found this blog for encouragement. I am not alone in my quest to spread the knowledge of Jesus!