Writing As a Spiritual Discipline

I have been having more difficulty writing lately. I think it all started in January when work became extremely busy. It is not that I stopped using my creative energy; it is simply depleted by the end of the day with my other obligations. In one sense, this shows my priorities are correct. After my commitment to God and my family, my responsibility to the Christian university where I work is the most significant. We have goals we are trying to achieve, and we are attempting to do it all for the glory of God. We all have limited capacities, and if something must give between the demands of my work and my writing on the side, my writing will be the first to suffer. However, I have recently noticed something. When my writing begins to wane, so does the quality of my work.   

There is something about the process of writing that keeps my mind sharp when thinking through more complex issues at the university. Having time to write daily, even on issues unrelated to college administration, improves my ability to articulate the strengths and challenges we face at the school and better articulate a way forward. When my writing suffers, it does not suffer in isolation. It affects several other areas of my life.

As I have thought about how having less time for writing impacts my life in other areas, I have realized that the most significant may not be my mental acuity. The greatest impact seems to be spiritual. I know this does not apply to all writers. Writing itself is not always a spiritual discipline. Countless writers spend the entire day laying down line after line of well-articulated thoughts that do nothing to bring them closer to the triune God revealed in scripture. However, for those of us who write about God’s word and its application to our world, the time spent meditating on scripture may impact our readers, but the most significant impact seems to be on us as writers.

Our culture, even our Christian culture, tends to prioritize talents over character. Anybody can be rocketed to prominence if they have the right giftings. CEOs have led businesses to prosperity, artists, musicians, and athletes have climbed to the peak of their respective fields, and pastors have become worldwide phenomena. The problem is that many of these same people and organizations have collapsed because their character was not as well developed as their abilities.

What does any of this have to do with writing? I need more time meditating on the word of God, and, for me, writing is one of the best ways to do that. Whether or not that writing ever sees the light of day is not the issue. The process itself helps set my mind on the heart of God, and the Holy Spirit uses that to conform me more closely to the image of Christ, and there is a lot of work needed in that area. As Jesus said, it is possible to gain the whole world and lose your soul. To contextualize that a bit to my situation, it is possible to use your gifts and be successful even working in a Christian university or church context and not be the person God has called you to be. That never ends well.

I write all this for three reasons. First, as I write this, I am attempting to spend time thinking about the heart of God for my life in light of a work and family life crowded with responsibility. Second, I am making my commitment to writing public to help keep me accountable. I am aiming to dedicate more time each week to writing. This extra time writing will have a slight impact on other responsibilities. It may mean a little less time for some of those things, but hopefully, it will improve the quality of the other hours I spend doing them. Finally, for anyone who reads this blog regularly, my prayer is this will result in more frequent God-honoring posts in the future.

-D. Eaton

5 thoughts on “Writing As a Spiritual Discipline

  1. Thank you for the reminder to write as a spiritual discipline. I have also found it to be an important part of meditating on God’s Word. The focus and attention required in writing seems to help solidify what I’m learning and reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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