Month: December 2017

059 – 7 Hidden Gifts of Writing

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Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young 7 Hidden Gifts of Writing on Write from the DeepWe all know there’s no more wonderful task than being a writer in God’s kingdom. It’s something we love and delight in. But it goes so much deeper than we often realize. It’s a task overflowing with hidden gifts…gifts that, when we recognize and embrace them, can enrich our real-world lives and relationships.

The Hidden Gifts of Writing
  1. We live with a heightened awareness of what’s around us.
  • Writers are observers. We see and hear things many others don’t. We see the nuances in people’s expressions and body language. We see the beauty around us in deeper and more impactful ways than others do. We are PRESENT in our study of human nature and nature itself. We can use that to also be present in our surroundings and our relationships, to gain a powerful sense of what this world and this life is really about.
  •  “Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17.  Use this gift to really SEE.


  1. We have a strong awareness of God’s involvement in what we do, say, and write.
  • Did you ever go back and look at something you wrote and wonder how in the world you wrote that? And you KNOW it was God. Don’t miss the blessing there. Seeing God at work is priceless.
  • How often did the Pharisees and teachers of the law in Jesus’ time ask Him to give them a sign? But the signs were there. The lame walked, the blind could see, the deaf received their hearing, dead people came back to life. There were plenty of signs. The Pharisees just missed them. There was no appreciation, no gratitude. Gratitude changes us. It makes us glorify God and see Him for who He is, for how great He is. It give us proper humility, and that enriches us.
  • Do you want a sign that God is in this writing thing with you? God gives that to you in the miracle of your words. Or maybe in that one person who tells you what you wrote made a difference. God takes your words and does something supernatural with them.


  1. We have the best training camp possible.
  • Writing makes you develop muscles and automatic responses for walking in submission, trust, and obedience, and for enduring when things get hard.
  • Submission: We’re trained, over and over, to lay our goals and desires on the altar and seek HIS goals.
  • Obedience: We do what He asks us to, knowing the results are up to Him.
  • Endurance: We don’t quit when things get difficult. We turn to Him to sustain and support us.
  • Trust: We learn to take one step at a time without having to know what’s down the road.


  1. We get to be imitators of God in the act of creation.
  • Genesis 1:1-3 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” This is God’s first recorded act. The first words of God’s story to us. He created. And we’re part of His creation. He made us in His image.
  • God says, “Let there be light,” and through His work in us, we create stories that shine light too.
  • God brought order out of chaos. Our first drafts make feel formless and empty, but we as co-creators can bring order to that chaos in our imitation of God
  • We are God’s image bearers when we act as creators.


  1. We have highly developed listening skills. 
  • We learn how to be still and listen for Him. For His leading, for His encouragement. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know…”
  • We can take these skills and apply them to those around us as well. Our friends and family, even our readers. We can study real people like we do our characters. We can understand their motivations and wounds and personalities, which helps us be more loving and compassionate.


  1. NOTHING in a writer’s life is ever wasted!
  • Every experience, every joy and pain, every tear and giggle, every delight and tragedy, every broken bone, every sleepless night…they all become part of the life experiences that inform our books and, as a result, minister to our readers.
  • Every word you write becomes part of your craft journey. Even if they’re terrible words, they’re practice. Every word is practice, which contributes to your growth as a writer.


  1. You get to do something you’re passionate about.
  • Many people in this world have no goals, no passion, no inspiration. Your passion for this task is a gift because it give you purpose.
  • Maybe writing is your day job, or maybe it’s just a little piece of your day or week or month. But whatever it is, it’s something you care deeply about. That’s a gift. You care about the message God has given you be it something you wrote in your journal, in a novel, devotional, memoir, or a note to a friend. You care about the characters you create. You care for your readers.


We encourage you today to open your mind and heart to the gifts God has hidden for you in this task of writing. To cherish them and let them help you see God, and His creation, more clearly, and to reflect Him more passionately in your writing, but even more in your life and relationships.


We want to hear from you!

What hidden gift have you discovered in writing?



There are wondrous gifts hidden for you in the writing life!

058 – Did God Really Ask You to Write?

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Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young Write from the Deep Podcast Did God Really Ask You to WriteHave you ever sat back and wondered if you heard wrong about being a writer? If God really did give you the task to write, then why is it all so…difficult? Frustrating? Disappointing? And why isn’t He confirming that He gave you this task?

Most of us are doing this task of writing because we believe God has given it to us. So why do so many writers struggle with doubt? Why do we wonder if we really did hear God correctly? Or struggle to know what He’s leading us to do right now?

The good news is that you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for writers to wonder if maybe they heard God wrong. Or to want, down the road, some sense of confirmation that God really said what they thought He did.

There are many reasons people take on the task of writing, and not all Christians who write do so because they believe God has called them to it. It’s fine if you’re writing because you love it, and you’ve decided to serve God by doing so. It’s okay if you serve God in other ways and write just because you enjoy it.

For many of us, though, we write because we believe God asked us to do so, that this is how He wants us to honor and serve Him. We believe He’s given us the task to write for Him. That gives us our purpose and determination. It keeps us going when things get hard or even ugly.

And yet we still doubt we heard God correctly!

Why We Doubt

Our passion ebbs

  • When things don’t happen the way we expect
  • When someone criticizes us
  • When we don’t take time to maintain our relationship with God
  • When we get too preoccupied with DOING and forget to simply listen
  • When we ask but don’t wait for God’s answer

We hear God’s directions once but we want more continual confirmation

  • We doubt when we’ve been at our task for weeks, months, or years and haven’t heard anything more from God
  • Consider Joseph’s situation in Matthew 2:13. “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’” All that time in Egypt couldn’t have been easy—starting over in a foreign land. Did Joseph doubt? Did he feel forgotten? Did he wonder if he heard right? We don’t know. But we do know that they stayed in Egypt until he got new directions to return.

We don’t ask the right questions, so we don’t get answers, and it makes us doubt

  • Think about Job and his friends. They’re trying to figure out what’s going on, what Job did wrong to deserve such horrible things. Then God speaks up and basically tells Job he’s asking the wrong question. It’s not about why, it’s about understanding who God is and what it means to follow His leading.
  • Notice in the Gospels how often Jesus is asked a question and he doesn’t answer it, or he answers a different question that they should have asked. We get so focused on our situation, our goals, and our plans that we forget this writing journey is part of our discipleship, part of our walk with God. He’s concerned about our character and about us valuing Him.
The Hard News

This issue really isn’t about hearing God at all. It’s about knowing Him. As well as—or even better than—you know your closest friends and family. Think about it, when your best friend calls you on the phone, do you recognize his or her voice? Of course, because you know that person so well. You know the inflections in his words, the sound of her laughter and weeping. You know her as well as you know yourself. That’s how well you need to know God.

You have within you the very spirit of the living, Almighty God. If you don’t know Him, or His spirit, as well as you do your friends and family, you need to focus on getting to the point where you, the sheep, are so well acquainted with the Shepherd’s voice that your response to it is immediate. That the sense you have when He speaks is one of trust and obedience. And you don’t doubt that you heard it, because you know it too well to do so.

The way to hear God, to know it’s His voice speaking to you, is simply to take the time to build relationship with Him.

Doubt isn’t an issue of not hearing, it’s an issue of not knowing and, as a result, not trusting.

If you don’t really KNOW Him, then of course you’ll start to doubt that He put you on this path when it doesn’t go the way you think it should. The key is knowing, deep in the fabric of your soul, that how the journey goes isn’t a validation—or invalidation—of God’s call.

We’re called to follow a suffering Savior, so you can be sure there will be difficulties and suffering. But we endure because He’s there with us. And we don’t take a detour unless it’s clear, deep in our soul, that He is the one telling us to do so.

Solutions to doubt

Focus on humility and learning God’s way (not OUR way) and trust that He IS leading you

  • We did a podcast about humility that you can listen to.
  • “He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them His way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep His covenant and obey His decrees.” Psalm 25:9-10
  • Learning God’s way helps you maintain passion. He will astound you as you encounter Him.
  • “It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of His robe filled the Temple. Attending Him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty! The whole earth is filled with His glory!’ Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke…Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’” Isaiah 6:1-4; 8

Do a study on what happened when people in the Bible heard God and obeyed

  • Was the path He set them on easy?
  • Did they stay the course without constant confirmation?

Focus on distinguishing God’s voice from others

  • “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave…'” 1 Kings 19:11-13
  • Learn to listen rather than talk

Find a mentor or a group of believers with whom you can discuss your faith journey

  • We often get to know God better by sharing our faith journeys with each other.

Follow the orders you’ve been given until you get new orders

  • Did you ever think about what a big, long, difficult task it was for Noah to build the ark? Scholars say around 100-120 years. That’s much longer than writing a book, or even a whole writing career.
Assurance through doubt

The beauty of all of this is that once you really get to know God, to recognize how He speaks to His sheep and leads them, you can move forward in freedom, knowing that if He doesn’t want you on a particular path, He’ll let you know. If He hasn’t done so, then all you need to do is stay the course. Take it a step at a time, and trust that Almighty God, who loves you better than you can ever know, is with you, guiding you, using you, and bringing His will about in you.

We want to hear from you

What gives you confidence that you’re hearing God correctly?


Did God really ask you to be a writer? Erase your doubts with our latest podcast!

Doubt isn’t an issue of not hearing God, it’s an issue of not knowing Him and, as a result, not trusting.