Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord;
and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God,
that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.
2 Chronicles 30:8 (NKJV)
I dislike few things more than being vulnerable. Vulnerability requires a measure of trust I am loath to display. I am so guarded by nature, so self-contained, that colleagues told me they were certain I disliked them for the lack of warmth I displayed. In truth, I’d paid them no attention at all; I was busy protecting my peace.
God has always poured words into me as a method of understanding my sojourn through the world. I have not always honored that gift. When I honor that gift, I embrace being vulnerable because I trust God more than my fear. I yield because that divine gift is the method by which I process information in the world, and by which I am most profoundly changed.
When I write, God takes the lead. I grew up singing the hymn, Have Thine Own Way, but I understand it more deeply as I write.
“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.”
Have Thine Own Way, Lord by Adelaide Pollard, 1907
When I write, I release my control, and thereby, as American author Flannery O’Connor says, am free to discover what I know. Writing is a journey, and of this I am certain; I may think I know where I will land, but seldom am I right.
Scribo ergo sum—I write, therefore I am. I can never predict when a Scripture, sermon, or seemingly random experience will ignite something within me I am bound to pursue. Once it happens, I am drawn deeply into a dance—part research, part worship, part quiet listening—and then to the page. My greatest revelations come in the early morning, often in nature, walking my puppy, squeezing in a run, islands of peace in a noisy, littered day.
When I write, I commune with the Divine. I surrender myself to listen for the still small Voice, God within me, calling me not to know, but to be open to discover. I bow humbly before the page, blank like the earth in Genesis, without form and void, and so it begins.
When I write, I am the moon, deriving my energy and light from a place outside myself. In my vulnerable state, fasting my control and my independence, I release any notion that I am my own. I and my words have neither light, nor warmth, except by Grace.
Writing, I accept the dare. Can I yield? Will I learn? Am I fearless? Unafraid? Writing reminds me that there is no greater trust. The process excites me precisely because it is entirely beyond my control. Beyond my control, but entirely divinely ordained. Only by testing what I believe do I know that by faith, more will be revealed. I will be better for the journey. I grow each time I fill a page.
When I write, I join generations of men and women both known and those whose names will never be known to us, who have surrendered themselves as instruments of the Holy Spirit. According to author, Catholic priest, and former president of Gonzaga University, Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., Our job is to follow this sense of being drawn, and to exert the effort to put words into what our heart already seems to know. The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.
When I write, I honor God, releasing onto the page the things my soul already knows, whispering “Have Thine Own Way.” There can be no more vulnerable place.
When I write, I am who I was created to be.