// conviction. (again.) //

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“ ‘When you painted on earth– at least in your earlier days– it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape. The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself. It is from here that the messages came. There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do.’

‘Then there’s never going to be any point in painting here?’

‘I don’t say that. When you’ve grown into a Person (it’s alright, we all had to do it) there’ll be some things which you’ll see better than anyone else. One of the things you’ll want to do will be to tell us about them. But not yet. At present your business is to see. Come and see. He is endless. Come and feed.’

There was a little pause. ‘That will be delightful,’ said the Ghost presently in a rather dull voice.

‘Come, then,’ said the Spirit, offering it his arm.

‘How soon do you think I could begin painting?’ it asked.

The Spirit broke into laughter. ‘Don’t you see you’ll never paint at all if that’s what you’re thinking about?’ he said.

‘What do you mean?’ asked the Ghost.

‘Why, if you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you’ll never learn to see the country.’

‘But that’s just how a real artist is interested in the country.’

‘No. You’re forgetting,’ said the Spirit. ‘That was not how you began. Light itself was your first love; you loved paint only as a means of telling about light.’

‘Oh, that’s ages ago,’ said the Ghost. ‘One grows out of that. Of course, you haven’t seen any of my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake.’

‘One does, indeed. I also have had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower– become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputation.’ ”

// C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce //

~

The Great Divorce is a thought-provoking commentary on moral relativity and how we cannot have both the glory of Heaven and the human nature of Hell– as he writes, “If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”— but the above passage about a conversation between a former artist and his friend who’s already in heaven is the message in this book that’s been the most convicting to me. When I first read it, I had to close the book for a moment there and think, because change the words ‘artist’ to ‘writer’ and ‘painting’ to ‘storytelling’, and there you have me.

Not that I have reached the point where the painter is, where all I want to do in Heaven is write. When I meet God face to face, and get my first glimpse of Heaven, I’m pretty sure the last thing I will want to do is tune everything out and create a world of my own.

But the thing is– while I’m here, I’m still in danger of reaching that point, if I am not careful. You fellow writers know what I mean; it’s so, so easy for us to get wrapped up in the technicalities of writing, and in the words we want to say, and in our desire to get published someday, and in sharing our writings with others– and before we know it we lose sight of why we wanted to write in the first place. {You could say that of any work or hobby or creative project, I know, but I’m going to keep relating it to writing because that’s where I was convicted. Feel free to insert your own life’s work, if that helps you relate to Lewis’s points better.}

 

To be honest with you– and I hate admitting this– but I’m way too self-centered, especially when it comes to writing.

I want my voice to be heard. I want my ideas to come together perfectly. I want my stories to be sent out and widely read. I want my name to be recognized. I want my writing to be praised.

Have any of you noticed that when you are too wrapped up in yourself and your writing, that’s when you have to push yourself to think and type because the words just aren’t coming? But then the more time you spend with Jesus, the more inspired and motivated you are to write?

The words flow best when my heart is right with Jesus. That’s what I’ve learned. (What I still have to teach myself quite often.)

And when my eyes are fixed on Jesus and not what I want, that’s when the tug on my heart grows stronger: “Tell the Truth. Write of love and grace and redemption and light. I’ve given you this love of words so that you can use them to point others towards Me. Never lose sight of your purpose and your love for Me.”

I don’t want to idolize the gift of words, or the stories themselves, because then that will lead to idolizing myself. Been there, done that, I’d rather not go back. No, my love is forever for the Author of the Greatest Story of all– the One from whom all creativity begins. Everything else fades in comparison to Him, even the stories that tell about Him. And that’s how it should be, us loving Him above all else.

~

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// Andrew Peterson (one of my favorite authors + musicians) //

The above quote is one of my favorites. This is why I write, and I never want to forget.

May everything I write point to Jesus.

All the glory and honor to the Lord, always.

{love always, Em}

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2 thoughts on “// conviction. (again.) //

  1. Oh wow, this is so beautiful. Thank you so much for writing this, Emily.

    Knowing why we write is so important — because we love Jesus. ❤ And without Him, we wouldn't even be able to write at all. And when we get our minds off us and back onto Him, we can remember why our writing can even be good in the first place — not because we are amazing, but because He is.

    Thanks for sharing such powerful truth! I really want to read The Great Divorce, now.

    -Amanda @ Scattered Journal Pages

    Liked by 1 person

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