What happens when the lights go out? There are times in our lives when we struggle with darkness, of whatever kind. Times when our faith is knocked. In these times we may find writing a release. We may also find writing as difficult as everything else.
This is made even harder if we consciously identify ourselves as ‘Christian’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘writer’. To have our identities thus undermined can make our words seem like masks, pretenders to the throne of reality.
So let’s be real.
Let’s write what we feel. Any words – however dislocated and dull – will do. Let’s embrace honesty.
It may be the best thing we’ve ever written. It may be the worst. It doesn’t matter. This first draft of the heart may be ugly, but it’s only a first draft. It’s not the last word on who we are. Don’t bother counting your adverbs or censoring your anger. If it’s dross, perhaps it needs to come out – only then can we get to the good stuff.
It’s hard to express ourselves when wrapped in a blanket of unexpressed pain or confusion. We need to unravel.
Being a ‘writer’ may be important to us, but it is not the most important thing. It is identity in God that matters, whatever we write and however well we do it.
We pray with the Psalmist: Search me, O God, and know my heart (Psalm 139:23a, NIV). Despite our limited visual range, we cannot escape God’s presence. The God who sees in the blackest moments – to whom darkness is as light (v12) – remains with us in the unravelling. The rare God-glimpses we get are even more precious, because of the darkness. Let’s write about those, too.
Our words in the darkness can become the most powerful testimonies we have.