On writing too loudly (or awakening the prophet within)

I am getting better as a writer at penning a sh&*%* first draft. Thank you, Anne Lamott. from the Cornell University Library, flickr.com

I guess when I really think about it I'm not as afraid as I used to be about writing too loudly. I mean, life can be tragic and hard, people, and writers have to talk about it. It is what keeps us sane and heals us and moves us on in our spiritual journey toward wholeness and shalom. Some of this writing gets shared with the world; some of it remains in my journals. 

The actual problem here, if diagnosed correctly, is that I am afraid to publish on controversial topics. There, I've said it. I suppose there are a number of reasons this stops me in my tracks, but here are the reasons as I see them:

  1. I could be utterly wrong on the topic, only to discover this later and be horrified.
  2. I could be raked over the coals by zealous Christians who in their spite ruin my reputation and call into question my spirituality. (I'm getting over this one. Let's move on, shall we?)
  3. I could own my voice and my prophetic calling as a truth-revealer in the Kingdom of God—but who am I to do this? Who do I think I am to write this loudly?

And this third point is the death wish to my writing, friends. This is the place in which I want to crawl into bed and cover myself head to toe with our heavy winter duvet. I am still working on not being ashamed of my own voice, on owning the calling of God on my life. I have often believed the lie that I am inferior, that I don't have anything important to add, that something about me is not adequate to the task, and that speaking out with freedom and grace and truth is not something I'm allowed to do. That is, since I've always been such a good girl.

Truth be told, even writing that last paragraph was torture. But we must face our demons first before we can overcome them with God's help. 

***

A few hours ago I completed my first phone interview for our book Reclaiming Eve. I explained that we as coauthors were compelled to write the book. That we as women have to take a second look at who God created every woman to be—and that when we do it shatters the lies told through the centuries that women are easily deceived, dangerous and of inferior intellect. It is a book about telling the truth that women are image bearers of God; that they are the strong power created to partner with their brothers; that they are God's representatives appointed to do his good work. This is our truth, I said. We need to start living it. 

And the interviewer said, "Don't you think this is going to get some flack?" And I said, "Yes, I expect so."

Who am I to play the prophet, offering a prophetic word, calling each of us to reexamine God's truth? Who am I to give a voice to the voiceless? Who gives me the right to write and to speak out with authority?

Only my Creator. When he reveals truth, and starts the fire in our bones, something primal happens. That plan he had for image-bearers revealing and representing him, it begins to make our skin itchy. We realize there is something sacred and true that needs to be said; we understand that we are being asked to say it, and loudly; we join the ranks of Isaiah and Huldah and Amos and John the Baptist and Phillip's daughters and we realize silence is not even an option anymore.

The truth burns like fire in our bones. 

Who am I to be a truth-revealer in the kingdom of God? Who are you? The better question might be: Who are you not to be a prophet? How could you do anything but write loudly when God's justice and love are at stake? How long will you believe the lies about your nature before claiming the truth that God calls you Beloved, and that he can be trusted to teach you how to use your voice?

Let's kick our demons to the curb and start fresh today with a new perspective: God created me. I am his representative. I can be trusted with the message he wants me to share, and with his help, I can speak and write with his authority—all for the Kingdom's sake. Are you in?

What keeps you from offering a prophetic word in the Kingdom of God? Share your writing demons and what keeps you pushing forward to use your voice anyway.