Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Confessing the Sin of Envy

I have to confess the sin of envy.

Every day I read a statements by writers who confidently say they have been called by God to write.

I envy their call. And I envy their confidence.

I don’t feel called by God to write.

Writing is something I do, something I have always done. I’ve made a living by words, and in many ways I’ve built a life from words.

I’ve been a reporter, copy editor, newsletter writer, news release writer, speechwriter, report writer, ghostwriter, article writer, speaker, reader, teacher, presenter, blogger, corporate blogger, poet, contributing editor, novelist, Twitter editor (tweeter?) and Facebook page manager. I’m sure I’ve left some things out.

My life has been filled with words, by words, for words. Words shaped by experience, understanding and imagination.

But I have never felt the confidence to say that God called me to write. It’s a skill or gift or ability He gave me, but I can’t say it was a calling in the way we Christians mean “calling.”

What I believe He did call me to was faith – is faith.

A.W. Tozer in The Pursuit of God says something about this.

“Imagination is not faith,” he writes. “The two are not only different from, but stand in sharp opposition to, each other. Imagination projects unreal images out of the mind and seeks to attach reality to them. Faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there…The Object of the Christian’s faith is unseen reality.”

Tozer says it better than I think I could have. My imagination – as wild and exciting and weird and strange as it might be (I write poetry, after all, and there are few things stranger than that) – is not my faith. Imagination creates something out of the mind; faith apprehends a reality that is already there.

But I do wish I could feel some of that confidence, at least sometimes.

Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading and discussing Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. To see more posts on this chapter, “Apprehending God,” please visit Jason’s site, Connecting to Impact. Next week we will begin a discussion of chapter 5.


Megan Willome said...

I'm with you, Glynn. I don't feel called to write either. I do it because I love it and--for whatever reason--I'm better at this than at most things. Maybe it's because although you and I are people of faith, our jobs don't have us writing about faith. I know that I don't feel that God has given me a message for the world. A talent? Maybe. This month that talent is being used to write about the revitalization of downtown Waco and what happens when Halloween, Homecoming, and the eve of deer-hunting season collide. Not exactly Scriptural stuff, but fun.

SimplyDarlene said...

Sir Glynn, I think your imagination is sparked by fire flames of your faith. How can it not be?

My friends (& maybe me, too) are getting unruly whilst they wait for your next book...


jasonS said...

I don't know. I think recognizing your gift then developing and using it for His glory is a pretty great thing--calling or not. Sadly, there are plenty who have a "calling" but never do a thing with it. Thanks so much, Glynn.

Laura Boggess said...

This has been my story too, Glynn. Though, I guess it depends on how we define "call". I like what Jason S. says. I think the way you write definitely gives God glory. Not because you do a lot of "God talk" but because of the excellence in which you pursue the task.

Matteo Masiello said...

I don't know if I agree with Tozer. The Bible is filled with poetic language, as well as metaphor describing God all of which should not be taken literally. This language forces us to use our imagination to delve deeper in the relational aspects of God. At least that is what I do. I for one am content with the Mystery that is required of faith, though I forget that when I get involved in debates with people who are more literal-minded about God. I don't take most of the Bible literally except for Jesus' ethics which are pretty clear on how we should treat one another (with love, respect, etc.) and view life with gratitude.

H. Gillham said...

I admire anyone who knows what he is called to do.

You're a beautiful, eloquent writer -- and regardless of whether you were called, you bless us readers and bring glory to Him.


Diana said...

I left a long comment earlier today - no sign of it. I don't think it was offensive in any way...

Glynn said...

Diana - I checked the comments section to see if if might have landed in spam - but I can't find it. So sorry for the mix-up.

Fatha Frank said...

You're a tweditor!

I can relate. I spend a lot of time *in* words, but that doesn't make me a writer. I've gone to writers' conferences and though I started with great zeal, I have since cooled. Blogging is a release, but that really isn't what I'm after either. I guess I'm still trying to figure it all out.

As to the point of imagination versus faith, I actually wish we had a third week on this chapter because I want to dig into that more. I think that's an interesting dichotomy and something we take for granted.

Anyway, good honest thoughts, Glynn. Appreciate you regardless of your calling.