My Journey as a Writer
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
I sought the Lord to give me clarity and direction, for my efforts in the past, had been obscure, mediocre, haphazard and without focus.
I had taken my pen, like a sword and had aimed it in all directions, failing to strike at the foe, even wounding myself in the process. I realized, to be called is not enough. One needs to embrace the call and then carry it out as directed.
In the pages of His book, He spoke His living word, and I embraced it:
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear. (Isaiah 50:4)
But a veil had descended upon me and I cannot hear my Lord. He hid Himself in a tall mountain hard to climb. Then I realized I had my guardian angel. Although God could hide Himself from me, my angel could not, for he was bound to me. He had been appointed to be God's emissary and to stay at my side at all times. Thus I called my angel to help me.
"Are you a messenger of the Word?" I asked.
I heard the voice, faint and soft. "I am," my angel said.
"Help me," I said, "to become one -- a messenger of the Word, because I struggle with words. I have bought all the tools of the trade I could find to help me bring His message out, but I know there is only one tool I need that I have yet to find -- my voice. It is buried by the many voices around me, suppressed for so long, afraid to be ridiculed or cast out for it had suffered the harshness of men's words. So it learned to hide and cover behind a façade that is acceptable to everyone."
My angel led me into to the desert and showed me where I erred. I had not followed the three disciplines necessary to become a messenger of the Word: the disciplines of the body through exercise, mind through reading and spirit through prayer.
So I beat my body, mind, and spirit to submission and rigorous training. When I satisfied my angel, he said, "God has the answer. But are you asking Him the right questions?"
I realized I had not. And there were three that needed answering.
"WHY do I write?"
He led me to the marshland of my motives. I saw my vanity and presumption -- the mark of an untrained soul. I pursued a call with earthly gains in mind.
The angel told me, "It does not matter how much you earn, but what you become in the process. Realize that your decisions today affect people's lives tomorrow. Your 'yes' today brings you closer to your purpose. And that is why you write."
He was right and he set me straight. I vowed to succeed, not for what it could do to me, but what it could do to others. We are connected by soul and spirit. We do not travel in this world alone. There is God's kingdom to build, and writing is my means and end. This is writing with a greater purpose. And I felt satisfied with this answer.
But my angel was not.
"Writing is not your purpose," the angel said. "Your purpose is to love God and make men love God. Writing is just a means to your purpose.
I sat astounded. He was right again. Writing is just a means to my purpose. And there are other means -- praying, running, cooking, singing, composing, drawing, painting…
"But writing is my primary means?"
"Among others," he said. And he led me to the valley.
"And there are growing pains, labor pains, and birth pains that you need to endure. You cannot avoid it. Must not avoid it. It is necessary and crucial for your growth. For from the pain, life springs forth."
I told him I struggled in the past. HOW should I do the work He had set out for me to do?
"Without the touch of the Divine, all your works will not touch the hearts of men. It is His fingers that impart life into your words and speak to the hearts of men. Connection of spirits only happen with His blessing," the angel said. "When pursuing the will of God, you need to ask for guidance but in the end, have to make the decision. The Lord does not want people passively going with the flow without an active will."
"So should I endeavor to write and work hard at it?" I asked.
"Writing is more passive than you think. It's listening more and doing less. Then you’ll love what you do and find joy in it. Without love and joy, your work stays with you and does not accomplish its purpose."
And so I realized that loving every moment of every day is what we are all called to do yet so many go through life without being aware of their surroundings much more feel and live this love in their hearts.
I do not want to write that way. That is not the kind of writer's life I want to live.
He led me to the mountain and said, "Ask the one important question you have not yet asked the Lord."
"WHO am I?" I said. He knew I was looking for my writer's voice.
"If you want to know who you are, know who God is. You are His mirror image."
"But where is He?"
"In the voice of the child. If you want to know the truth, ask a child --the younger, the better. They will not withhold it from you, but when they speak, it is without malice or intent to harm. You will hear the naked truth, without confetti or sugar-coating. Just plain, old truth."
"I can do that? Be the voice of a child?"
"Only you can do what God has set out for you. The more you move far away from your purpose, the more lost and unhappy you become because your happiness resides in doing His will and purpose."
I sat on the mountain and waited. My angel grew still and silent. Out of the silence, the clouds parted. I saw my voice, peering. I beckoned her and she spoke.
My voice, I learned, was strong yet gentle. It was kind to those who seek refuge from the heat of the sun. It offered comfort to those who struggle against the odds of life. My voice whimpered in the night because the wind had lashed it a couple of times. Only my angel was able to bring the voice out into the open.
And it was a beautiful voice I realized. I cried for the many years that it had stayed in the dark not seeing the sun and even the moon. It hid like my God, ashamed that even its owner had rejected it. My voice had the melody of music and notes that no one could reach. Only I could, because God made it so. It had an ancient sound yet modern men understood it.
I beckoned it to come out and it whispered. But then again withdrew. It was still wounded and healing. It needed convincing that this time I would not hurt it by my neglect and rejection. What a fool I had been to think I could run away from my voice. It had been following me, muted all day, like my angel. Because even though I cast it aside, it was and would always be mine. My voice.
So I vowed, everyday I shall beckon it to speak. And it would-- softly at first until it became confident of me. Then it shall assume me and become me and speak through me. Only then will I find my voice and my voice will find me.
And thus, in the next 40 days until the Ascension , I shall train my voice to speak 'in the rhythm of the lessons I learned' (as how a famous song would say) from these last 40 days. Perhaps, God in His kindness and mercy will touch my tongue with the fire of the Divine and become worthy of the call to be a messenger of His Word.
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