Some years ago, I took a class in which we were given the assignment to write an essay with this title: Why I Write.
It was interesting to hear the variety of reasons my fellow classmates gave for embarking on the task of putting pencil to paper (or finger to keyboard) and creating a combination of thoughts, words, emotions, and ideas that did not previously exist until the writer took the time and energy to make the intangible concrete. One essay explored memories of sitting on Grandma’s lap while she read the writer her first story, launching her imagination into an explosive outburst of ideas which could only be calmed by getting them on paper. Another essay was far longer than it needed to be (you know, to hit the word-count requirement), and could have easily been summed up in a single sentence that read: “I write because my teachers make me.”
If you are expecting me to tell you how much I loved this assignment—how I leapt out of my chair at the mention of such a novel, thrilling essay topic, totally unlike the typical literary analysis essays that made up the majority of assignments in my English and writing classes—you would be sadly disappointed…and wrong. Dead wrong.
I agonized over this silly little essay. And I am confident that I agonized over it because I believed it wasn’t silly or little at all. It was a topic too big for my six-day writing deadline. It was a topic too intense for my unpolished writing style, a topic too lofty for my complete lack of awareness of why I write!
It wasn’t until I had long since turned in and received back my essay, and perhaps many years after that, that I finally had an answer to that precious essay prompt I had fudged and fluffed up with a variety of shallow reasons for my writing endeavors, all of which sounded poetic enough to convince the teacher that they were the reasons why I wrote, but in reality were total superficialities, hiding my real passion and motivation for writing, which I must have known in my heart but had no way to describe—that is, until Mother Teresa came to my rescue.
Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.”
Why do I write? For the same reason I do—or should do—anything: to glorify God. I write to please and love the God who made me, who gave me whatever spec of writing talent I may have, who loves me infinitely, amidst all my written shortcomings, personal failures, and constant botched attempts to be His perfect pencil in the love letter He is writing to the world.
Whatever it is you do, whatever it is you are good at, or mediocre at, or unfathomably miserable at, you should do it for one reason: to glorify God. Make this motive your focus, your aim, your constant reminder and guiding principle, and your measly efforts at accomplishing anything will be transformed into the most magnificent love letters—spreading the glory of God everywhere, filling the corners of Heaven and Earth. Christ’s power is made perfect in weakness. Give all you have to Him. His story, His love letter, will not disappoint.
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