St. Francis of Asisi once said that we should share the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words. He knew the value of words and actions, and knew they must align. But in our modern day society, how do we fit our voice in with all the other competing ones? Ads are everywhere. People are all trying to make a difference-- some are just trying to make it another day. We can call someone "poor" or "rich" by the way they dress, carry themselves, and even by how they talk. Perception is not everything, but its a game-maker in this life-- what you say and what you do, how you spend your time and money all say more about you than words ever will. But then again: Lables are limiting. Words are power. Speech is action.
For those of you who desire to use words as action and a work of art, take heart! There are so few words that never grow old, yet so many pictures that seem so timeless. So many times where words are not enough. Yet most times, we find it hard to reach the right word, when trying to describe something moving. In any such occasion, I find it best to make up your own words and pictures to describe and communicate: that is the key. Communication. So whatever you decide to write, make sure you know what you want to say. It may get messy at times and sometimes you will feel like hitting the "delete" button (or spill a load of white-out on your paper, if you're old-school), but writing is a refining process to look deeper into your own soul. Writers often write in hopes that their soul on paper will resonate with many others, and if it does, that is a success.
"If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), 'Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?' Chances are you are; the counterfeit innovater is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death."-- Steven Brownfield
Often times, good writing is measured by the power of the truth you communicate and how many people can understand it. For example, I will attempt to leave my footprints in the sand, if you will, by espousing some of the best advice I have ever received. "The worst enemy of the best is the good." My friend Heath, from UMHB, told me that on the way to a friend's wedding. I had been feeling overwhelmed by all the things I had to do: work at the BSM, help out with a D-now, lead worship at church, disciple two of my good friends, plan parties, do schoolwork, playing with kids at Hope for the Hungry, etc... But this is when it made sense. There are so, so many "good things" I could be doing. So many things in this life are vying for my attentions, my passions, my heart. If I don't focus on the one or two "best" things God has given me in the moment, I will never see any real fruit. You get worn out, run down, and stretched. You can't do it all. I can't do it all. So, at whatever point in your life you decide you need to hear this again, remember this URL. Kidding!
But nothing is new under the sun. Although, here's a cool poster for you to agree with (ha ha). I think it's one of my favorites, because I believe you can learn so much from both and they both offer places of solace. Finding that key time and place for you to write is more than half the battle. Let your mind grow, whether it be in a garden or a library, or even in bed at your 4th floor hostel in London. Ahem.
Something else to chew on: Those crazy enough to think they can change the world are usually the ones that do! To say something is also to do something; but they are not separate. So, when using words, know the power of them. Martin Luther King and his contemporaries that spoke out against their cultural norms not only changed the world, but really set the bar for more. His words still reverberrate in our souls, resonate within us, and challenge us to try harder. In the same sense, when a writer is trying to determine what to write about, they must choose words so carefully. For example, the spells in Harry Potter are just words, in Latin; nothing more. Words carry so much power. When writing, more than describe the world: deliver statements that define, create and shape the world!
Let's recap what we've been discovering. You can really see the soul of a writer by reading what they write. If I say what I feel and feel what I say, I believe I've just made progress. We all have something to say, something important to share-- something no one else has. Having a voice is powerful, so use it to the very best of your abilities. God has a great, grand destiny for you. He has given us all unique experiences and words and ways to communicate with each other. How you use your resources emphacizes to the world what you place as the height of importance to you. If you're confident in that, and passionate, people will admire that and want to have similar convictions (or totally discrepant ones, judging on their reactions). Know that your voice will leave a footprint on the earth, but even that will pass away. You must truly decide where you stand and what it is that's worth saying and doing. What will you give your life to?
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD. "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future." Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.