How do you find your purpose as a writer– as anyone? What does that even mean?
My husband’s favorite verse in the Bible is about that. The verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.“
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to answer the question, “Why do you write?,” but for me, writing isn’t just a thing I do. It’s a thing I am. The urge to write– especially stories, but also these devotions, or even just to write my thoughts out to sort them– it’s built into me. It’s a part of my design. Always has been.
When I don’t write, I even get depressed. I being to feel stagnant, as if none of my life moves in a forward direction unless my writing does. I literally begin to feel… almost purposeless.
That’s a clue.
God designed each of us uniquely, each to fulfill our unique intended purpose.
The Word of God says that each of us are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). There’s a beautiful rebuke in the book of Isaiah in which God posed this question: “Shall the pot say to him who formed it, what are you doing?”
In other words: Who are you, my creation, to tell ME I made a mistake in making you? I know the purpose I had when I made you this way. You’re not going to look like that pot over there, because that pot was made for it’s own purpose. I had something else in mind when I made you.
Regardless, we each have our own purpose. Even among writers who believe, there are many “pots.” So how do you find your purpose in your writing? How do you know you write for reasons beyond the self-centric? How do you know any of it is more than a waste or a hobby?
How do you find your purpose?
The first thing to remember is that, whatever purpose God has for you, it is certainly—as we writers like to say—“in character.” Thus, the first step to exploring your own purpose, in any aspect of your life, is to explore God’s character.
God is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). His plan doesn’t change any more than His perfection. Meanwhile, we are also creatures made “in His image” (James 3:9, Genesis 1:27), meaning with similar (if also lesser and different) qualities. All of this means that the key to understanding our own selves and how we fit in His grand design lies in growing in understanding of God Himself.
Essentially, read the Bible. Read the New Testament; read the Old Testament. Even amid the neutrally delivered histories and the laws of the former covenant, there is evidence of God’s plan and purpose and personality. Remember that God never contradicts Himself; search for knowledgeable and trustworthy people to discuss with you the parts that are harder to comprehend.
Find out who God is. You may be surprised about what that tells you… about you.
I promise: He does have a purpose for you.
Think of it like a treasure hunt. That drive, that irrepressible urge, to put down words– that was built into you for a reason. Find that reason, and watch how much more joy and fulfillment you get out of the writing– even the rest of your life, as well. And remember: just as Solomon prayed for wisdom and received it, so can you.
But Kathryn, did you find your purpose?
I know some of it. With much prayer and consideration, I know that my stories are sent to secular audiences who don’t want a preacher. I’m not sure my novels are meant to explicitly evangelize, as it were. My goal is to illustrate concepts that might otherwise be foreign to non-Christians, in the hopes that when they encounter such concepts in real life, it might be with understanding. Even if there is no conversion, the goal to at least build conversational bridges and help people of different opinions understand each other—that has always been leveed on my heart.
I know there’s more to it. I don’t think that’s my whole purpose. But I trust God to reveal it as the time makes it necessary. My responsibility is to pray, seek, and live out every other aspect of my life in accordance with his good ways. I need to be conscious of my priorities, and who I’m doing any of this for– for my own name, or for His? (Isaiah 43:7)