I wrote my first thoughts on this subject on The Christian Writer’s Den blog many years ago. But as I consider it today, I realize it can apply here at Christian Communicators as well. After all, most of us are either speakers who write, or we’re writers who speak. So whether you’re primarily a writer or primarily a speaker, the truth is still the truth when it comes to excellence.
I hate to admit it, but when I first began my writing journey, I thought anyone who saw a need for improvement in my writing was just . . . well . . . wrong!
When I wrote my first book, I wanted to show it to everybody. But not because I wanted their input or help. Not because I wanted to make it better. Not because I wanted to learn how to write well–after all, I already WAS a great writer!
Nope, when I first started writing, I didn’t want to hear anything but praise. I wanted to hear how great my writing was and how it was going to hit the literary jackpot. How it was going to revolutionize the children’s book industry and how producers were going to be groveling at my feet, begging me to let them make the very first Bitsy movie!
That’s not what happened.
The first time I had my work critiqued by somebody who knew what they were doing, I was shocked! Didn’t they know what a good writer I was?
Apparently not. Every page–no, every paragraph–well, actually most every line–had a red mark! What was wrong with that editor? Didn’t she recognize good writing when she saw it? It was obvious this person just didn’t get my work!
So I moved on, sending it out to other editors and publishers. Oh, I made a few minor changes–after all, she WAS an editor, so perhaps there were a few commas or periods or phrases I might need to tweak here and there. But didn’t she understand that you don’t mess with someone’s story? Didn’t she understand that it was MY story, not HERS?
For years, I worked with this attitude. And no, I’m not proud of it.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy he says:
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
In this letter, Paul is encouraging Timothy to be faithful to the call God had placed on his life. Earlier, Paul reminds Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” (1:6) and to remember that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” (1:7). Yes, I know Paul is talking here about Timothy’s call as a teacher and a discipler and a leader in the work of Christ. I know he’s admonishing Timothy to apply the Scriptures accurately. But isn’t that message to us as well?
Throughout Scripture, we’re told to be ready to tell others about the hope we have in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15), to use our gifts to help others (1 Corinthians 12), to “trust in the Lord and do good,” to delight ourselves in Him, and to commit our way to the Lord. (Psalm 37:3-6).
If that’s what we’re called to do–whether we’re doctors or cosmetologists or writers and speakers–then we need to be approved as workmen who don’t need to be ashamed. In other words, we need to know our stuff. We need to be the best doctor or cosmetologist or writer and speaker we can be.
I pray that you don’t waste the years I wasted. I pray that you quickly develop a heart that yearns for learning so that your words can be words that are approved; words that you–and God–don’t have to be ashamed of.
If we correctly handle the truth of our words, then perhaps we will have the opportunity to correctly handle The Truth of His Words.
And what an awesome opportunity that would be!
Grace and peace,
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