|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.
“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).