You might be surprised to realize you’re not only a writer, but you’re a faithful writer.
Do you find inspiration in strange places?
Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night with someone on your mind or something you feel compelled to do?
Have you ever had an idea bubble up in your head as you lather on the soapsuds in the middle of a shower?
Have you ever read a passage so powerful or inspiring that you wanted to grab your notebook and write your thoughts down immediately?
Have you ever had a character or a plot idea—or a phrase or lyric—flash so vividly into your head that you raced to find a pen and paper to capture it before it disappeared?
Have you ever had something so unusual happen—a butterfly landing on your hand or an eagle flying out in front of you from the forest—that you felt somehow it was a sign?
When the action you feel inspired to take after these eruptions of synchronicity, randomness, or surprise is to write or type words, you’re a faithful writer, because you’ve written in response to a creative nudge or inspiration or calling…you’ve taken faithful action.
Definition of “faithful”
- [adjective] steadfast in affection or allegiance (a faithful friend)
- [adjective] firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty (a faithful employee)
- [adjective] given with strong assurance (a faithful promise)
- [adjective] true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original (a faithful copy)
- [noun, plural] a body of believers (the Christian faithful)
- [noun] one who is faithful (a party faithful)
When I began to lead spiritual writing retreats and encourage others to develop writing as a skill for getting to know God and serving God more faithfully, I did so from a Christian perspective. This was my background and the foundation of my own experience, and it still is. But I have come to appreciate that faithful writing is so much more than just religious writing and is not at all limited by labels of faith traditions, denominations, or theology.
Most of my students were defining “spiritual writing” very narrowly. Indeed, many were loathe to call themselves writers at all unless they were a published author.
Let’s dispel that particular myth right now:
If you write, you’re a writer.
End of story.
I don’t care if you’re writing a letter to your sister or the next great Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. If you’re writing with any degree of regularity, you’re a writer.
But are you a faithful writer?
You are a faithful writer if you believe the source of your creativity is a higher power from beyond or deep within yourself: God, Muse, Spirit, Source, Universe, Yahweh, or whatever you may wish to call the well of fertile energy that pushes you to take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Faithful writing has to do with intent and purpose, so when your writing—personal or professional—is fueled by a pull or call to be more, do more, care more, or love more, surely it is faithful writing:
- Writing in your journal to sift through thoughts and emotions
- Writing a prayer to talk to God
- Writing a note of encouragement, gratitude, or compassion
- Writing to your grandchildren to say, “I love you.”
- Writing to clarify your position on an issue and take action on your convictions
- Writing a sermon or speech to inspire and encourage
- Writing a research paper to further knowledge and understanding
- Writing a lesson plan to teach and motivate
- Writing—even writing those infamous terrible first drafts—on a schedule because you believe that writing is what you’re called to do and you are being faithful to that call.
Any of these can be a form of faithful writing just as much as a theologian’s treatise or a contemplative’s prayers.
My own writing friends have demonstrated to me there are so many forms of faithful writing. Pamela has shared her experience of self-publishing her artwork and creative writing online. Teddy and Jessica have posted publicly-delivered content for their churches. Mary, Pamela, and Barbara write marvelous stories that fascinate, entertain, and feature characters living out their faith or their values. Kathy writes a blog to shine a spotlight on social justice issues throughout history. Karen finds the humor and poignancy of everyday occurrences and shares them in her poetry and prose. Jeannie, Robin, Marthenn, Anne, and Connie use their writing to inform, educate, and heal. Most, I’m sure, write notes, prayers, petitions, and missives of gratitude. I post messages of inspiration, support, and teaching because I feel called to encourage faithful writers and, of course heartspoken note writers.
Don’t ignore those nudges from God to put your writing in service to love, healing, and peace. I recently posted “Noteworthy: Note Writing For A Cause” about one way to do this. The world needs every faithful writer it can get, whether you’re writing to one person or to millions, or just writing to God in the solitude of your room.
NOTE from Elizabeth: I no longer lead a formal “Faithful Writers” group, but if you think you might enjoy the support of our “Art of the Heartspoken Note” Facebook group, check it out HERE And if you know anyone who might be a faithful writer, please share this post!
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