An entry in the classic devotional My Utmost for His Highest offers a writerly application.
From My Utmost for His Highest (December 15)
If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.
Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.
It’s what we can do in journals, letters, blogs, articles and books. We can “[a]lways make it a practice to stir” our minds thoroughly to think through what we’ve easily believed, so that through study and suffering, we can “own” our position.
As Chambers recommends, we can strive to “re-express a truth of God” to ourselves clearly and understandably in these places — the journals, letters and blogs where we wrestle to understand truth at a personal level and put words to it — and it’s possible that God can later use that same explanation when we share it with someone else.
I underlined and asterisked that final section:
The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is…the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.
This is what I hope to offer as a writer, friend, speaker or mentor: Through my own willingness to struggle with a truth, I hope to give it expression and speak it clearly and boldly for the benefit of others.
And thanks to others who have struggled with truth and given it expression, this has happened to me — quite often I’ll read something and almost gasp at how perfectly someone captured what I had struggled so long to understand, grasp, or express. “Yes!” I’ll exclaim. “That’s exactly what it’s like!”
It might be in a song.
A blog post.
Or a personal e-mail or conversation.
Let’s stir our minds thoroughly and see what falls into place when it settles.