Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast
Get caught up with all episodes in the “Threads of Life” series
“Smoke, nothing but smoke… There’s nothing to anything – it’s all smoke. What’s there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? One generation goes its way, the next one arrives, but nothing changes – it’s business as usual for old planet earth.”
-Ecclesiastes 1 (The Message)
“Write! Write! You want me to write, Lord! But I’m not accomplished enough and have not learned enough. What if I write things that expose my vulnerabilities, my fears, my stupidity, or my ignorance?”
For with all my education and learning, I have become acutely aware of how little I know. Just when I think I know a subject well, I turn a page and discover I have just begun to learn.
As I pick up pen and paper, the boldness with which I have written in the past is now tempered with a deep humbling awareness of the present.
The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us that striving after something is like smoke and mirrors – or like dust blowing in the wind.
Yet we live in a world that requires planning, designing, and working toward goals. We have a legitimate human need for accomplishment and to feel good about it. To survive, we are required to learn and study and make wise choices.
To achieve anything requires self-discipline and training.
But if we accumulate or accomplish simply for our own gratification or the need to feel important, we will wake up one morning disillusioned.
Ecclesiastes teaches us that the meaning for life can only occur in God, with God and through God.
To me, that means following Him as he works out the particulars of my life according to His will and design. Otherwise, the work I do would be pointless; the things I accomplished would be like so much dust blowing in the wind and my writing would only be tinsel and sparkle on paper that entertained for a moment but held no real value.
Writing, for me, has become more than just therapeutic journaling. It has become a directive.
Like any skill, writing is a discipline that requires time and effort and practice. But in the process, I have discovered more about myself and God’s great love and purpose than ever before.
Without the work involved in developing proper sentence structure, good grammar, and searching for words that illuminate the ideas I want to put down, my writing would simply be a jumble of words with no purpose or clarity.
My writing began with purposeful journaling. I resisted the impulse on gloomy mornings to turn on the TV in order to cover my pain with noise or push it away with lots of activities. Instead, I chose to sit down with pen, paper, and my Bible. Through conversations with God, I began to work out my pain. In the process, I was healing, and my soul was being fed with words God gave me to write.