By Betty Slade | PREVIEW columnist
I stood before my writers’ group to challenge and awaken the gift in them. I asked them to think about their encounters with God, mull it over and understand what has passed between them and their God. Only they know.
Life has been thrown at them. Some things are too hard to share, so they hide them. I asked them, if they were ready to write, what they had gone through. Some are very protective of themselves and they’re not ready to strip the veil off their writing.
Why is that? It’s not so much sharing their words, but the fear of sharing themselves. Putting one’s self out there, being seen and known, to be shot down and judged is horrifying. But how is truth seen if we’re afraid to share it?
We have some who have shared themselves. One writer is a very shy lady. It takes overwhelming courage for her to stand in front of the group and read what she has written. Her writing takes our breath away. Her words are full of spirit and truth. She doesn’t know how her gut-wrenching words strike us to our very core as she shakes in fear and reads her words.
I have reminded her many times how the world needs her words of truth. She has something powerful to say. Does she believe me? I don’t think so.
We have another writer in our group who is not afraid to share himself. I can hear his cry and pain as he reads his words. I don’t believe he knows how he affects others with his writings.
We all come with our own baggage. A professional speaker and writer spoke recently to our group. She stripped off her veil and confessed she was hard on herself. She believed her own lies as she told herself she couldn’t write and no one wanted to read what she wrote. After speaking, she’d beat herself up with doubt.
She had to deal with herself and get truthful to be successful. She said, “I wouldn’t talk to my worst enemy the way I talk to myself. I had to fight to get out of my head and not believe my own lies.”
I challenged the writers to remember when they were pierced in their heart to know the truth. John writes in his gospel, “Those who love the truth will come out into the light and welcome its exposure” (John 3:20,21 TPT). When something is brought into the light, it will not have power over them. Revelation light exposes, it corrects, and everything that reveals truth is light to the soul.
This is drastic, but I am stretching this principle to show an example of truth being exposed. When a husband is having an affair, he’ll hide it because he doesn’t want to be found out. He doesn’t want to give it up. He’s not ready to confront himself or the sin. But when he is confronted, he has to make a decision. He’ll either lie, leave or get right.
When the knowledge comes into the light, there is a decision to be made by the wife, also. The wife can believe his lies and deny it. Or she sees the truth, and truth demands an answer. If she accepts the truth of her husband’s affair, she has to deal with it, see it for what it is, forgive him or walk away. That could mean tearing up the family, leaving his support and raising their children alone.
It is the same for writers. Life has been thrown at them. Negatives have been spoken to them, and they have believed the lies and have hidden their pain. They can choose to step out of their shadow to deal with whatever has plagued them or hide. It will come out in their writings. Readers know the difference if the writing is flat, dead or full of life.
I’ve doubted my ability, my words, and I’ve embarrassed myself at times. The self-preservation comes out in me and I have to fight against it. I’ve had to choose to step out of my own shadow, be vulnerable, so that I can walk in the truth of the light.
Final brushstroke: I desire to touch the depth of another’s soul and make a difference. Only revealed light will bring truth. The morning I stood before the writers to fan the flame in them, I challenged them to open wide their hearts and be vulnerable, bring themselves open-faced to the reality of who they are. Invite others into their pain and share their true selves. Then their writing will make a difference.
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