The following is an excerpt of a piece I’m currently working on. I pray this impacts you, even just a little. Enjoy!
A published writer recently challenged me to write 500 words a day. I’d told him about my desire to write and about my struggle to get words down on a page. “I just don’t have enough to write about.”
“I bet you do,” he responded
“Just write. Anything.” And so, this is my response to that challenge. I will attempt to write 500 words a day. I don’t know when I’ll end or what this will look like once I’m finished. I don’t want to give this bones; I don’t desire a set structure. Because as I sit here typing whatever words come to my mind, I can feel it. I felt it before I even started writing, before I sat down in front of my computer screen. I felt it as I took a sip of water, set the bottle down and as I took a deep breath. I felt it in the tension of the music I played in the background. I felt it as tears rolled down my face in that all too familiar way. I felt it as my thoughts loosened and my words became limber. I felt it as my fingers stretched across the keyboard in anticipation of what was building up inside me. I felt the release as my fingers clicked the keyboard ushering in a crusade of thoughts and ideas to the page. This is my gift. God himself has given me the ability and finesse to write. There is no place where that truth rings louder in the space between my ears than when I sit down to write.
Gifts are a strange thing. In Christian circles, gifts are synonymous with talent; whatever you’re talented in is your gift, in most cases. Personally, I prefer the word “gift.” it more accurately explains the almost ethereal quality of whatever you’re talented at. Pélé, the famous Brazilian soccer player, was a talented since birth. Growing up without means to a football, he dribbled grapefruits and soon played for minor leagues in his area. As time passed, people began to notice his talent but also his innate flair for ball handling. Time, practice, and hard work have made his game what it was at his prime. Most commentators would call him the best player of all time. But not merely because of talent, because of his gift. Even the best musicians and artists measure skill in the same way. To be able to know an instrument forwards and backwards takes time and talent. But every musician can point to one guitarist or vocalist or percussionist or whomever whose expression of their gift is beyond just talent. Whether you call it a groove, sweet spot or mere luck of the draw, everyone can tell when someone is gifted. There is something distinctly different; as if they have been made to do exactly that. They become so attuned to their instrument it becomes an expression of their creativity inside, a mere muscle that can be counted on under the most demanding circumstances.
Probably at this point you agree with me on the distinction between “gift” and “talent” but you fear I may be a bit too pretentious in my introduction of myself (which you may be right.) I would too if it were not for one thing that ruins gifts for most. Talent can be earned. It can be etched, shaped, prodded, molded, and formed. But gifts, gifts are different. I have no claim to the way I write. I did not wake up one day and decide to write. Although I have had years of schooling, I couldn’t tell you anything about classic literature or prose of great authors. I can have the most extensive vocabulary but not have any power to pierce a heart because I am not the source of my gift. I’m not the original. The impact of a gift is at the mercy of a giver. I can only receive what has been given and try to explain its meaning to others. My knack for writing was given to me. And that’s what brings every egotistical tower of collected accolades crashing down. Gifts are humbling. Because as soon as I try to try, my gift means nothing. And so, as you read, I hope you understand that this book is not a badge of honor but a labor of thanksgiving. I am gifted. I am made for this. But what I offer is not the penultimate. Not even close.