Reformation Fascination,  Writing As Worship

Mistaken Identity

“Who am I to write this work? No one will ever read it… I have nothing important to say…”

“That’s right,” the enemy sneers as I repeat his whispers. “WHO do you think you are? You can’t write. You heard God wrong…”

In a fleeting moment, we feel the call to write. The spark ignites. The lamp is lit within us. “Salt and Light,” the LORD says, “THIS is how you will be Salt and Light to the earth.”

And in that moment, we stretch our imaginations. With childlike faith, we step out into the unknown, an unknown that we know has been charted by Him.

Only, once we are there, we become bombarded with invasive voices and dragged down by imposter syndrome. The enemy lingers on our heel – he doesn’t know what God is planning, but he does know that if God is calling us there then it is for a Kingdom purpose. And the enemy doesn’t want us to honor the call. So he tries to derail us any way he can. He brings distractions. He makes it seem all too hard.

And then, we begin to make excuses…

I began to make excuses as to why I couldn’t move forward with my writing. The idea needs more research. The idea seems too big. The idea is growing in my mind – and not in a good way. Now, it’s a looming force all its own and almost completely unapproachable… There, see, it just grew beyond me… I don’t think I can tackle this anymore…

I’m not usually one for procrastination, but I am one to doubt my own capabilities. I am one to indulge imposter syndrome when it strikes. I am one to be apprehensive about moving forward out of a false sense of humility.

Dear one, if you’ve ever felt this way, then you and I are not alone.

In the sixteenth century, there lived a devout Christian woman who had felt the call to write. It seemed all the odds were against her. She was in her late sixties and her health was failing. She had several established convents to manage. She had a whole ministry to nurture. The world at that time was in political and religious upheaval. But her sisters in Christ – the sisters of the Carmelite order – desperately needed inspiration on their walk with Christ. Her superior encouraged her to write a book on prayer for her sisters, as “women best understand each other’s language”. [8] So, as an act of obedience, she decided she would write solely for them. She figured that if she helped even one of her sisters to pray a little better, then it would be worth it. She wrote purely for her fellow sisters and, even then, doubted her own capabilities: “I am not meant for writing,” she wrote, “I have neither the health nor the wits for it.” [9]

The call seemed all too hard.

But she did it anyway.

“Few tasks that I have been commanded by obedience to undertake have been as difficult as this one… But I have found that whenever I have surrendered in obedience, impossible things have become simple. While my physical nature rebels against the very prospect of a new book, I willingly take it on. I must admit, though, I cannot see how the Beloved thinks I will pull this off.”

Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, 1577

Saint Teresa of Avila was declared to be the first female doctor of the church. Her books (including this quoted work The Interior Castle) are still studied today and have multiple editions and translations, almost five hundred years later.

Can you imagine if she had given up? Can you imagine if she had allowed her case of mistaken identity to stop her from writing? What if she had focused on all the ways she wasn’t fit to write, as opposed to believing in the One who had called her by name?

It’s no accident that we are meeting here at the Worship Desk. The call to write takes courage to respond to and, when we forget who we are and Whose we are, we need to remind one another. Just as Teresa wrote to her sisters in Christ, I am writing to mine –

Sister, Jesus wants to partner with you on this work.

He is calling you by name.

So whatever lies the enemy has been whispering to you, remind him that he is the father of lies and you won’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

Because we have been called to speak truth. To write truth. We have been called to be Salt and Light to the earth.

Who are we?

We are daughters of the Most High God.

We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ our Savior.

We have the Spirit of God living within us.

Even if we believe our words will fall on deaf ears. Even if we wish for just one person to be reached by what we see are mere words and stories.

We don’t know what is planned in that divinely charted unknown. But we know the One who does. And He is calling us to write.

“I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the first of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you. For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.”

2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of writing. Thank You that You want to inspire us and set our hearts aflame for Your Kingdom work and purpose. Please give me the courage I need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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