Brittany Lee Allen

I Didn’t Choose the Writing Life

I know of a sacred place—sacred to me anyway. Walk alongside the rose bushes by my Mamaw’s dusty blue house, pass by the strawberry garden and the cherry tree. Keep going and you’ll see the pine tree my brother planted as a little boy in the middle of the blues and yellows and pinks of the flower garden. Pause to take in the peculiarity of the snapdragons and the sweet aroma of the pink roses. Through the arch where the grapevines crawl, you’ll find a little girl, singing songs to the horses on the farm across the lake. She sang “Amazing Grace” to the goats and geese long before she had a clue what it meant, making it a sweeter song when she found out at the age of twenty-one.

She also used to “write songs” in the garage and believed she’d be a big star someday. Praise the Lord she was wrong. That blond-haired (yes, blond) and blue-eyed little girl is me. I use quotations because Lord knows what I wrote back then should not be called songs. More like shallow words about boys and heartbreak and awkward school dances. But looking back, I wonder if these memories reveal what God may have planned to refine later in my life.

The thought of being a writer never crossed my mind growing up. I despised English class. And reading? I’ll give you the cliff notes version: I didn’t.

Which is why it confused me years later when I found myself scribbling thoughts and ideas and sentences on post-it notes in between spreadsheets. Why was I doing that? I had no idea at the time. I just knew I needed to get my thoughts onto paper or I might go crazy. What started out as simple texts to friends about what God was teaching me (I’m really sorry guys. I realize now how annoying those texts must have been.), turned into Instagram captions, and after encouragement from mentors and friends, they were morphing into something bigger than I’d ever intended.

I didn’t choose the writing life, it chose me.

Jokes aside, that’s truly how it feels. It’s as if God was pulling back layers of my heart and exposing a passion I didn’t know existed. With each layer, an impulse to share his word with others through the avenue of my own words grew.

I’m not trained. I hated school and barely retained anything I learned in English and literature class. Could God really use me? No way. What do I have to offer the world of writing? Nothing. Nothing? Exactly.

God can use us in any way he pleases. He can plant a seed of passion where not even an inkling of desire existed before. He can overcome our lack of knowledge or eloquence. When God says we are created to bring him glory, he means all of us, words included. Our words are his words. What a gift it is to me to know that I couldn’t have produced anything good in myself, including anything good in my writing. Truly, I have no good apart from him (Psalm 16:2). Do you feel the freedom in that truth? It’s the freedom that comes from humbly accepting our place before a perfectly good and omniscient God.

He gives the gifts. We don’t earn them or deserve them. Any “giftedness” we may possess is only there because the Giver chose to give for his own glory. And he can choose to have us lay them down at any moment he desires.

Let that thought do its work in you, humbling you (and I) before our Creator. This is where we must fight to stay—in this knowledge that all is grace. Everything. We are owed nothing and yet, God lavishes us with his love and goodness.

I guess I’m just writing this to say I’m humbled that God would allow me to write. But also, God, make me humble. May my motives for writing continue to be for your glory and the good of others. Rid me of pride. For truly, I have no good apart from you.

One Response

  1. You and your writing are blessings to those who read. Thank you for using your gifting for His glory.

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