Monday, September 11, 2017

When I Hated Writing—Passion Renewed

by Peter Leavell @peterleavell

I had lost my love of words. And I'm an award-winning author.

The twist of a phrase, the meaning of a sentence, the passion of a story. Gone.

Words are my gift, my passion. Writing is my art, my expression of Jesus's face—and the love was gone like a relationship filled with painful barbs and forgotten dreams.

And in one moment the passion came back. Here's what happened.

Connection with Christ

My first communion as a child I had an idea for a personal act of remembrance.

Childhood and Bible College evangelistic messages, Sunday School lessons, and revival meetings confirmed the thought—every sin I commit adds weight to Christ on the cross. It is your sin, Peter, that drove the spikes through His hands. 

Roman 6:23 explanation—the gift of salvation needs thank you cards, your eternal servitude.

A Kid With Control Over God

The burden was heavy. Being reminded as a child you put Christ on the cross, and you owe Him, is a heady stuff.

I took the cracker between my fingers, and to remind myself what I had done, I snapped the representation of Christ's body. I broke Him.

Never mind the ramifications for adding to Scripture (if obeying is good, surely adding extra rules and punishment is better), the usual smugness and self-assuredness that accompanies the joy of false humility made its way to the surface.

I'm sure the messages were about more, but as a kid, fear works its way into the heart powerfully.

Adulthood and Ministry

Decades later, living up to the debt I owed Him proved overwhelming. How does one ever come close to at least showing appreciation, or at most, paying a debt of that magnitude?

Matthew 11:28-30 (My burden is light verses) held unknown meaning to me, other than the command to labor and be heavy laden, and only then can you turn to Him.

Recently, I snapped the bread in two, breaking Christ's body. And the Sunday message I'd just heard hit home, and this conversation with God fired into my brain. 

The Conversation

Peter, My burden is light.

I'm a writer, Lord. Famously published, won tons of awards, and have tons of fans I call friends. Surely you're happy with me.

But is it enough?

I don't understand that question. I work hard. 

You're weary and faint. Your health is failing.

For You, Lord. Look how many people I reach.

Peter, my yoke is easy.

(I snapped my bread again)

Peter, you’ve been reading Ephesians. You know, you're an adopted child of mine, right?

Adopted children aren't the same as—(as soon as the thought entered my mind, I knew the lie).

You know, I volunteered for the cross. Because I love you. You didn’t break my body. My body was broken for you. There’s a big difference. And did you catch the reason why?

Because you love me? I know it. That's why I work so hard.

I love you. Do you love me? Read 1 John 4:19

Yes!

You know how you used to love writing?

Yes?

You’re free to love it as much as you want.

Really? What do you mean?

I gifted you passion. You’re free to use that passion as much as you like. Maybe I’ll use it for my purposes, maybe I won’t. You just love writing. Love words. Love people. Remember, I love you.

What about publishing, reaching the world for you, my ministry—

I wrote a bestseller. I know the business. I’ll take care of most of sales. If you’re passionate about the work, you’ll tell people naturally. They call it marketing. But your passion is infectious. People will know.

What do I do now, Lord?

Remember that poem about trees? You'll never see a poem as lovely as a tree? Kilmer?

Yes?

Maybe look at that poem again. You know, I created trees. Do you like them?

I LOVE them! And how the dappled light shines through the green leaves and dances on the grass. And the grasshopper on the stem. Look how he bounds, and he's so small! The sun feels gentle on my skin. Lord, are you there?

I’m here, listening. I enjoy listening when you give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Oh, that thought that just flashed through your mind (pride, lust, covetousness), I don’t like that, and that's come between us—

Lord, I’m sorry. Please, I’m sorry. Are you there?

Of course. Always.

Renewed Passion

Christ volunteered for the cross. I'm free to explore this world He created, to pursue the passions (writing) He gave me. 

I've never loved words more. I'm no longer weary. Nor do I faint.

And I've stopped breaking the communion bread. Instead, I'm frolicking under the trees, trying to put into words how I feel—how wonderful all this is.

Tweetable:

Have you looked for Christ by pursuing your passions?

~~~~~
Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at www.peterleavell.com.

11 comments:

  1. This is just the best thing ever. Thank you so much.

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  2. Freedom! Thanks for sharing this, Peter. It's like reading a page from a prayer journal, and it's both energizing and freeing at once.

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  3. You described my walk perfectly and my angst about my passion to write. It's what my husband has been telling me. God loves me, I am free to find joy in His creation of me. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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    1. Thanks, Jerri! Your husband is a good man!

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  4. it's "funny" the more I pursue writing, the more I find Him, and the more I find Him the more I find... me

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    1. Good point, Robin. Very good point.

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    2. thanks Peter! truly is an amazing journey!

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  5. So, obviously you get major kudos for quoting Joyce Kilmer . . . ;)

    But seriously, I love this. I think that those of us raised in Christianity have just as many weird issues to work through as those who were saved as adults. Our issues are just different. And I love that God frees us to run after Him by running after what we love.

    I love how He changes our passions, or channels them into the way He created for them, so that we can keep on glorifying God, growing in Him, even as we do the things that bring us the sweetest joy and fulfillment.

    What a good and merciful God we serve.

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    1. Thanks, Erin. It's funny what kids pick up from wayside preachers, eh, and run with! He is sooooo merciful!

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