I’ve been discouraged over the past few months about how hard I’ve found it to write. I know there’s a worldwide pandemic going on, and writer friends assured me that they’re facing the same struggles, but I somehow expected more of myself. After another day of struggling for hours over one blog post, unable to get the words right, I despaired that I’d be able to keep to my regular schedule. Why was this so hard?
But then I picked up my journal and saw how few pages were left. Checking the dates, I realised that I’d only started writing in it a month ago. I use journals to meditate on my Bible reading in the morning, and take notes from sermons and some Christian books. Just one tumultuous month and I’ve filled 192 pages with words to and about my King.
I’m getting a new perspective. I haven’t written less during this pandemic, I’ve just been writing in a different way. And that’s good. What’s worth more in God’s sight—a carefully edited post on my blog, or the unfiltered record of what he has been doing in my life?
I want to write in a way that helps people to adore Christ and live for him. God has graciously given me opportunities to do this. In a way, my blog posts chronicle how I’ve been thinking about and responding to God. But the messy scrawls in my journals do that even better. I keep all my old journals stacked up near my desk. There are nearly forty of them from the past five or six years. I can dip into any of them and they show me the faithfulness of God like nothing else.
This writing slump has made me think carefully about what I really value. I am tempted to run after praise and accolades and blog subscribers. When I’m not writing regularly, I worry that I won’t progress the way I hope. But God has something far better in mind for me. Psalm 1 tells us:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
My journal is tangible evidence of the life God is pouring into my heart. It contains the words that I’m meditating on day and night. I can expect that God will greatly bless the time I’ve spent in his Word—not with convenient insights to channel into a blog post, but with deeper delight in him.
So if all God is going to do in this pandemic is work in me rather than through me, I’m grateful for that. And with his help I’ll be content with that too.