Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11, HCSB
|Do you see the dove descending? Its beak is in the bottom right corner.
One reason I procrastinated ever creating a blog was the fear that it would just be a place of self-promotion, and that concern continues to flare up every now and again now in the midst of blogging. Pride and the desire for one's own glory and the approval of people are seductive and insidious temptations, able to taint even our best deeds. That recognition and the desire that this would be a place where God, not self, is glorified and where His church is edified move me almost daily to pray Ann Voskamp's prayer for upside-down blogging.
Last week after a sermon about James and John putting dibs on places of honor in Jesus' coming kingdom, I wondered again if that prayer and intention are enough or if seeking glory for oneself is inherent to the blogging (or even writing?) process. Is this still what I'm supposed to be doing? Is this still the right, best, most legitimate exercise of the writing gifts God's people affirm He has given?
It is frightening and humbling to put words and thoughts out there for the world to see. It is frightening because some of them will be wrong, and what was my private error of judgment risks influencing others along the same path, once it is shared on the screen. It is humbling because only God's Spirit gifting and guiding me in the writing and attracting and guiding you all in the reading can ever possibly effect the mysterious alchemy that occurs when the right word meets the right soul at the right moment. No matter how skillful or beautiful the writing, unless the fire of God falls on the offering, it's just so many words. Only His words always accomplish their intended purpose.
That same truth, however, gives me courage. No matter how clumsy or awkward the writing, if the Holy Spirit transforms it, it will be beautiful and glorious in God's sight. Every time I click "Publish," it is an act of faith.
Long before I even knew what a blog was, these thoughts and concerns about the writing process and writing ministry specifically shaped a prayer poem, my own upside-down blogging prayer, I suppose. In gratitude to and for the Holy Spirit whom we celebrate at Pentecost (just days ago on May 27, this year), in hope that He really can play His tune on this rinky-dink, five-note nursery piano, here it is.
Come, Spirit, come – in Thee I muse;
Illuminate my heart to choose
The words, the matter, rhythm, rhyme;
To draw men to Thy thoughts sublime.
Come, Spirit, come – O sacred flame,
Purge all that’s hostile to Thy Name,
The thorns and brambles, burn away;
Leave only roses for Thy Day.
Come, Spirit, come – O living stream,
Quench Thou my thirst till, like a dream,
Through desert heart a river flows
To water others as it goes.
Come, Spirit, come – Thou rushing wind,
Whose breath is life – Thy pure gust send
To vivify these dusty words
With the sharp strength of Thine own sword.
Come, Spirit, come – Thy holy song
Sound forth. It is Thy tune I long
To sing to make Thy mercies known.
Minstrel and lay – be all Thine own.
In the comments: if you write, blog, or otherwise serve in artistic or creative ways, do you wrestle with these concerns? I'd love to learn from your thoughts.