Monday, March 5, 2012

What inspires you?

Source: Wikimedia Commons
As imaginative writers, many things inspire us: sunsets, mountains, romantic candlelight. Maybe it’s a memory of our childhood, a nightmare, or our latest trip to the mall. We're constantly people watching, thinking up new plot lines, creating “what if” scenarios in our minds.

We go to conferences to learn the logistics of fashioning a book,meeting agents or networking with publishers. We spend valuable time on group emails, building an online platform, and gathering friends on Facebook. There’s nothing wrong with doing these things. It’s part of the job. We need to be the best that we can be and  fellowship with other writers to feel inspired, encouraged or validated.

Sometimes, though, we look too hard for inspiration, when as Christians, we have it inside of us. Sadly, we may forget it’s there, or worse, ignore it.

Job was someone in the Bible who got a lot of advice. He was surrounded by “encouraging” nay sayers who shared their expert opinions: “Quit! Give up! Die!” 

But Job knew where to look for inspiration. He knew Who to listen to:

“But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment” (Job 8 & 9, KJV).

As writers in these last days, we need to work smart, not hard. It’s tempting to take the hard road of going to and fro picking up tidbits here and there. We can wear ourselves out being afraid we might miss some morsel of a publishing secret or writing trend, when all we need to do is get quiet and listen.

To Him.

“What is it you want to say today, Lord? What words do you want on this page?”

I wonder sometimes—do we hurt the Holy Spirit’s tender feelings when we ignore His ideas? His inspiration? How would we feel if we were telling someone the perfect way to succeed but they never took our advice? What makes us think we have better ideas than God?

I am often inspired by thoughtfulness, grief, and the spirit of the overcoming soul. Courageous athletes, cancer survivors, pianists playing Rachmaninoff—these folks receive my awe and attention. But I must remember that my most powerful inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit. He knows better than anyone what needs to be written. He knows better than anyone Who needs a message that God has put me on this planet to write.

He longs to inspire us. He patiently waits for us to listen. All we need do is follow Job’s example, and obey. Obeying His voice is much better than all the sacrifices we make going hither and yon for inspiration. For it is written: “…to obey is better than sacrifice…”(1 Samuel 15:22).

Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, grandma to five beautiful little girls and author of O Canada! Her Story. She lives in North Manchester with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, and three silly dogs. Her favorite color is purple, favorite hobby is book-hoarding, and favorite food group is cupcakes.


  1. You are absolutely right. I am continually reminded when my vision falls short of God Himself. We live in a world often much too small. God is BIG and invites us into His world.

  2. Great encouragement - go to the source. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. This is so true. What a lovely post. Thanks Karla!

  4. Wonderful post, Karla! Our gift of writing is from God, to be used for His Glory, so I need to remember to look to him every step of the way--including every time I sit in front of the computer to write! Blessings to you, Karla!

  5. Karla,

    Thank you for this excellent post. One quote I've heard is that God's work done God's way will never lack God's provision. The same can be true about writing. If we seek His leading and our obedient to it and give our diligence to it (and the diligence includes our craft in writing), God will make sure it does what He desires it to.

    Jeff Reynolds