Hey, y'all. Jan here with a thinking-type post.
(Yes, I can talk Southern. My years in West Texas and in Kentucky taught me how!)
I've been convicted of something lately, and I'd like to share my thoughts with you.
Let's start here -
I'm teaching school-age children at Bible Study Fellowship this year, and we're studying Matthew. The immersion into this study (not only my own study, but in preparing to teach) reminds me that what we put into our hearts is what is going to come out.
In this section of Matthew, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. You know, those religious leaders who were all about religion...but not so much about God. Like many of us, they thought they knew God. They thought they were obeying God with all their laws to "help" people follow God's Law.
But Jesus had a special name for them: brood of vipers. He uses that term more than once! Like I told the students in my BSF class, that means that He considered them to be a nest of venomous snakes.
I don't know about you, but I don't want the Lord of the Universe to consider me to be no better than a venomous snake.
I don't want my heart to spew out poison - untruths, slander, and even "mistakes" when I'm trying communicate to my readers about Jesus and His world...which covers 100% of what I write about.
But as writers, we are constantly filling our heads and hearts with knowledge - research for our latest novel. Sales statistics. The best price points. Reading blogs and listening to podcasts about writing and marketing.
As we watch the news or read the newspapers, we fill our minds and hearts with the noise of the World.
As we go about our non-writerly lives, we deal with family issues, church issues, and what in the world to fix for dinner.
When our heads and hearts become filled with the things of this world, what will overflow into our writing?
"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
What's the answer?
We must balance all of that - over-balance all of that - with God's Word.
Not just reading scripture, but delving deep into it.
Not just reading someone else's teaching on scripture, but studying it for ourselves.
Even if my daily word count suffers...
The time spent in God's Word - just me, my Bible, and the Holy Spirit - is never wasted. That's treasure to fill our hearts.
My prayer for all of us is that our heads and our hearts will overflow with Jesus, and that is who our readers will encounter in our books.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!