Is it Time for Me to Quit Writing?

quit writing

Every writer asks this question at some time, maybe many times. Christian writers ask it right along with all the others. Every Christian knows that it is not God’s plan for us to be scared or confused or unproductive. When we feel this way, we have wandered off God’s path into Satan’s wilderness.

This isn’t the vicious abrasive Satan that scares us when we think of spiritual warfare. This is the indolent Satan who is enjoying the shade of a big tree on a warm day when the rest of us are trying to accomplish something. Out of the corner of one eye we see the wastrel lying there in the cool grass. Playing with bugs. Figuring out cloud images. Looking for the bird with the special song up there in that tree somewhere. Swilling Kool-Aid or Coke while we are sweating. It all looks a lot better than a computer screen. We envy the hours of guilt-free purposelessness as Satan whispers:

“You are wasting your time. Shut up. Quit. Nobody cares what you think.”

There is only one answer. Prayer.

This is the time to remember just one sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus gave us to teach us how to pray. As Satan lolls back with a smirk on his face and a sneer in his eye, pray, “Your will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven.” Satan’s smirk be wiped away, but that is not all. As you pray, you will remember your call from Christ. “Stop focusing on you and look at me. Follow me. Go where I go. Do what I do. This isn’t about you. It is about me.”

At this point you can begin praying and talking with God about your work. Go ahead and be frustrated.

Tell him how you have started and deleted at least five versions of chapter 8 since breakfast because they were garbage.

Ask him why you haven’t increased your blog following since last June.

Rant at the prices stupid editors charge for the right to read your great book.

Cry because you can’t afford a premium theme and your own domain and a web artist to create a great logo.

But after you have finally laid on him all your fears and failures and fulminations, then be quiet. Be still. Let God speak. Listen for the voice of sheer silence. Wait.

The psalmist had days just like yours, and he had to deal with them. God had work for him to do, and Satan threw roadblocks in his path, too.

 

To you, O Lord, I lift up my writing project. I trusted you! Those reader comments are so insulting! Those editors have no taste, and they keep rejecting me! Did you mean for me to fail? Do not let me be put to shame! Make me to know your ways, O Lord; Teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me. For you are the God of my salvation; For you I wait all day long.

Psalm 25: 1-3 (my free paraphrase) 4-5 NRSV

QUESTION: What do you do to combat the feeling for the need to quit writing? Click here to leave a comment.

* Image credit: Greaterumbrage (Creative Commons)

  • http://aparchedsoul.com/ Grayson Pope (A Parched Soul)

    Amen to that. I’ve certainly been there. It’s tough to stay motivated sometimes in the face of pageviews, themes and building subscriber lists.

  • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

    Every day we need to look ourselves in the mirror and ask, “Why am I doing this?” Lord willing, we can always answer that with, “Because God is honored when I do this and people are encouraged by it, even if I don’t see it.”

    • http://www.katherineharms.com Katherine Harms

      So true. We commit to serve God, and we get discouraged when our egos are not fed by admiring readers. Our service must not be dependent on human feedback. We must work for God’s “well done.”

  • Jlfullermuse

    I do nothing, I’m searching for the answer to that one, and I hope to find it soon. I started writing about 12 years ago, have had a few successes, but my failures far outweigh those. I’ve just recently, like a few weeks ago, committed my writing efforts toward doing God’s work. As much as I really love to write, I’m assuming my past writing struggles could be a way that the Lord is telling I should focus my passion toward something useful, like spreading God’s word

    • http://www.katherineharms.com Katherine Harms

      Just a thought or two. I have tried to give up writing for something “more useful” more than once, but God always reminds me that he gave me this gift to use for his purposes. Among those purposes is a second thought for you, because writing is a wonderful way to spread God’s word.
      You remind me of myself, so what I say to you, I say to myself often. Decisions like this are not about self-gratification, which is where we go with thoughts such as “I really love to write.” We are often lured away from prayerful consideration of God’s purposes by the secular notion of self-fulfillment.
      I have been writing seriously for more than ten years, and my understanding of my God-given purpose has been reshaped by God’s guidance more than once. God keeps meeting me where I am and showing me a fork in the road or a single stepping stone in a new direction. Following his guidance always results in a discovery of rich fulfillment, and it is usually in a form I would never have imagined on my own. I have never found fulfillment by seeking fulfillment. I only find fulfillment by seeking God’s way.

  • JParys

    Thanks for this encouragement; we all need it. You must be busy with 5 kids. I had a friend who adopted 2 girls from China. They both had problems. One was deaf in one ear and the other had internal organ problems. They had planned on only one but felt they had to take 2. Beth said the children were all in cribs & hers were 4 years old each. God bless you for your large family.
    We had 7 foster children as well as 2 of our own but we only had one or two foster children at a time.
    Blessings,
    Jan Parys

  • Michael Jeshurun

    Like with preaching we write till the day we die. If the “gifts and callings of God are without repentance” then we must write as long as we are physically able to do so. In most cases that which is written goes longer than that which is spoken. Little wonder Luther said, “If you want to change the world, take your pen and write!”

    Many of us may not even live to enjoy the fruits of what we have written but they will continue to minister to God’s sheep long after we are gone; and what is said of Abel will be said of us – “that he being dead, yet speaketh!” (Heb 11:4)

    Would Spurgeon or Bunyan ever dreamed that what they wrote then would bless generations to come? And yet they do. God has used some of the sermons of these Godly men to minister to me in such a personal way that many times I know that when such an one penned what he did . . . God had ME in mind.

    So if God has moved you to write something, then He has someone for whom it is meant. May not necessarily be someone in the present time, but maybe someone in the years to come. And when they read it and are blessed by it, they will bless your heart in all sincerity.

    “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Rev 14:13)

    • Dorci

      I must have commented on this post at one time (although I don’t see my comment now) and subscribed to the comments because I just got an email notifying me of this one. I’ve been writing a devotional blog for several years, and it’s only grown a very small amount. Time and time again I’ve asked God to let me off the hook. It’s too painful to continue doing something you love only to keep looking around and seeing you’re the only one there, well, with the exception of a few very gracious family members and friends and the occasional pop-in, and at the same time you see others having so much success. Every time He shows me in some way that I’m to keep doing it. For how long, though, I don’t know. My appeal came again a couple of months ago, when the pain of loneliness and wanting so much to do some actual good got to be overwhelming. And one day, I suddenly stopped. The passion to do it wasn’t there, the ideas weren’t coming. It was just gone. And it scared me. Suddenly I didn’t care who read it as long as I could have the passion back and keep doing what I love to do. It’s been a couple of months now, and I’m still in the middle of what some might call writer’s block. I think God’s giving me what I asked for, temporarily, so that my motives can be purified in my own heart and mind. I’ve gotten a few ideas for some posts, and attempted to start writing again, but the hesitancy is still there. I haven’t quite gained that momentum yet. And then I got the email with this comment in it. It is excellent, and just what I needed. Thank you.

      • http://www.michaeljeshurun.wordpress.com/ Michael Jeshurun

        All praise to God ALONE, Dorci. So glad that you have been blessed by what God led me to write. I will pray that our good Lord will once again rekindle that passion and give you the ideas as you put pen to paper.

        The disheartened Christian writer is most of the time like the ‘bruised reed’ spoken of in scripture. But concerning these it is written, “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench!” [Matthew 12:20]

        Commenting on this, Spurgeon writes – ”

        Here is a picture of the soul whom God has called to serve Him and to give forth a light in the darkness. Standing tall at first, filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit and the fire of God, that soul radiates the light of Christ for all to see. Yet, calamity strikes and that soul is now found lying on the ground, bruised, broken, crushed, discouraged. The barely discernable light remaining within struggles with dullness, dimness and heaviness; issuing forth nothing more than pestilent vapors. With its light diminished, it is barely seen and is shunted aside with no practical purpose or usefulness.

        No one wants a light that doesn’t light! Already crushed and battered, that seemingly fruitless soul becomes an obstacle that serves only to trip up passersby. Though that soul tries to get out of the path and hide in some darkened out of the way alley, there seems to be no refuge from the scornful glances and vicious kicks of those who see it. Men pass by it in their daily business, shaking their heads and clucking their tongues at the baneful shambles of this dusky, dim soul which was once a plentiful source of light.Too bad! Someone should gather up this unsightly heap and dispose of it before someone stumbles upon it and is injured.

        “What is weaker than the bruised reed or the smoking
        flax? A REED that groweth in the fen or marsh, let but the wild duck light upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed. Then look at the smoking flax—what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true, but it is almost smothered; an infant’s breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame. WEAK THINGS are here described, yet Jesus says of them, “The smoking flax I will not quench; the bruised reed I will not break.”

        Be blessed, dear Dorci. I want you to know that your comment encouraged me much this day. Love, Mike!

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