His Words, Not Mine

Insecurity was a daily battle for me as Book One slowly unfolded. Sentence by sentence, page by page, the words and story poured from me. I tasted fear with my characters, laughed at their jokes, cried in their heartbreak.

You never write a book without pouring yourself into every facet. As Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” It’s a lot easier said than done, isn’t it? My insecurities constantly surfaced: You can’t do this. No one will want to read this. It will never get published. Just stop now.

But I had a story to tell.

So I began every writing day with this prayer: Your words, Father. Not mine. And slowly, red turned to black on the page until I typed the final words: THE END. Sweetest thing ever written.

Insecurities equal self-focused writing. It was time to refocus. But before I could do anything, I first had to remember that this was not my story to tell. In Exodus 4:10-11, Moses receives a command from the Lord to go and speak to Pharaoh. His insecurities came out full force, and he complained to the Lord. I mean, Moses literally gave every excuse in the book. “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

I love the Lord’s response in the next verse: “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’”

Who made your mouth, writer? Who gave you hands to type, eyes to observe, and a brain for creative thinking? Wasn’t it the Lord? What idea can you claim on your own? What dream has come to fruition without His hand in the midst of the journey?

Write in faith, knowing that the Lord will use it for His glory if He has truly called you to this career. Success as the world defines it is rarely success as the Lord defines it, but He will use this gift in ways you will never see and understand. Your job is to be obedient. Write.

Every time your hands hover over the keys, remember Who made your mouth. Get your heart right and commit every word to Him. As the words flow onto the page, remember the One who stirred the stories in your heart and the characters in your mind in the first place.

“…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b

As writers, we pour ourselves into every story, but they are stories we ultimately can’t take credit for. When I finished my first book, I looked back at the journey and couldn’t believe the result. 85,000 words. Countless hours. So much prayer. I have no idea where it all came from, but He Who called me to this field is faithful.  I will be faithful to do this as long as He allows. All the credit goes to Him. I never could have finished alone.

As I begin the next book and the next, I will continue to pray the Lord gives me the words that others may need to hear, the stories that will tell of the hope, dreams, and adventure that come from following a good God. Will you join me as we commit our writing journeys to the master Author?

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

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12 thoughts on “His Words, Not Mine

  1. Kariss, this is a lovely reminder that our sufficiency is from the Lord. If he calls, he enables, though it does not mean it will be easy for us. I think of the prophets, who were scribes and megaphones for God—-they must have sweated over every word, and they were often pilloried for it. Lucky us, we keep our skin, our head, usually. thank you for this prod. I will remember it tomorrow as I finish my final draft!!

  2. Kariss, This post is so timely for me right now. I’ve been struggling with an important non-fiction project, the words from the enemy echoing in my ears. The breakthrough came yesterday when I prayed and rolled the care over on the Lord, resisted the devil and watched him flee. Your post reinforces what He’s shown me: my strength comes from Him. I need to keep my trust in Him and step out in faith to answer the call to write He has placed on my heart.
    Thank you.

  3. Great post, Kariss! Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into your writing journey. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at the computer wondering why in the world God has called me to this work. The words come only by His abundant, overflowing grace.

  4. The words you wrote were inspired by the Holy Spirit. They gave me encouragement and hope to continue my writing, asking the Lord for His words, not mine. I am new at writing although poetry has long been my main genre, so I have a lot to learn about writing a book. Thanks for you insight and expressing what I needed to hear…to focus on the Lord and His words and not my words which lead to insecurity and despair.

  5. Amen, Kariss. Amen.
    It’s important to remember that it’s God who called us to write. So, we should lean on Him to give us the words He wants on the page.
    Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

  6. I agree, Kariss. I love your post. DiAnn Mills was the one who taught me to always look at my writing as a ministry. When we do that, we’re more likely to write the words God gives. I still bathe every word, pubbed & unpubbed so far, in prayer. Like you reminded us, we want to bring God glory.

  7. Kariss, what encouraging words. Everything we do in life is to be for Him and He is faithful to give us everything we need to accomplish His purposes.

    DiAne

  8. “Every time your hands hover over the keys, remember Who made your mouth. Get your heart right and commit every word to Him. As the words flow onto the page, remember the One who stirred the stories in your heart and the characters in your mind in the first place.” – LOVE this! Thanks, Kariss, for pouring this blessing out!

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