Jan here, writing to you on one of CAN’s devotional Fridays. I have a question for you: Who are you and what are you doing here?
I ask that with a chuckle because it stirs a memory of when that very question was asked by my daughter, about three-years-old at the time, to an adult who was attending a dinner at our ministry. She asked the question entirely out of innocent curiosity.
Not a bad question to consider.
I met with a young man last week who is preparing to transition from the residential ministry where my husband and I live and work. One of the questions I asked him is: Who is the person you now are that you are taking away from this place?
As writers and speakers, we talk about take-away for our readers and audiences when we write and speak. Another important factor to consider is the person we take to them as author or speaker—whether or not our topic focus includes ourselves.
Who we are matters.
Back to my young friend. Before I asked him the question about who he was now, he had told me all the different ways he had changed. His focus was on his behavior—which was great. I just wanted him to see those accomplishments from another, maybe deeper, angle.
I asked about each of the changes and what they showed about who he was. He said he had been angry but now he was happy, calm, and often helped solved conflict among our residents. He had also been dishonest when he first arrived at the ministry, but high integrity was now a high priority for him.
When I asked who he was now, his answers became, “I am a man of peace. I am a man of integrity.” No longer statements of behavior; this is who he had become. It was God’s work of transformation. When he realized these things–especially coming from his own lips–he sat up straighter and his face lifted.
Think of how important it is for us as writers and speakers to continually be before God, being transformed. We can’t just show up in our writing and our speaking and do ‘stuff’ we aren’t living. Yes, this is about being authentic, but that word is so close to teetering on cliché, to consider what it really means for our own lives can easily be missed. What becomes important is real, ongoing, personal transformation—what God is doing in creating each of us into the person he has designed us uniquely to be.
Be aware of who that is, who you are bringing to your writing and speaking.
As you begin to enter into each new writing or speaking project, consider who you are bringing into that process. Look carefully at your ideas, passions, and purposes behind what you are preparing, then turn what you discover into statements of being. Who has God created you to be? Who is the person you are now that you are taking into this project, taking to your readers and audiences?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Jan writes nonfiction from her home in the foothills of the California Sierras. She is currently working on more material for the teen/ya audience and for those who deeply care about them. She also enjoys life coaching and mentoring writers. Visit her site at www.jankern.com.