Are You Afraid to Speak Up? {Thursday Thoughts for Writers}

Are You Afraid to Speak Up? {Thursday Thoughts for Writers}

Most times I’m terrified to speak up.  Someone more knowledgeable, experienced and articulate should be the one to take a stand. Who would listen to me anyway? 

And then there’s my tendency to avoid conflict. I duck out of the room when people begin to disagree.  I hate discussing politics, theology and controversial topics.  I would much rather pretend life was like the world of kid cartoons than face the realities of inequality, oppression, and brokenness.  

But lately God seems to be searing my heart with the heat of injustice. It’s uncomfortable, but also feels very human to experience the raw anger and pain. And it’s gotten nearly impossible to sit here motionless under the heat.

After visiting the slavery plantations on a school trip in college, a classmate of Austin Channing Brown, the racial activist, proclaimed to her classmates, “Not doing something is no longer an option.[1]As writers, sometimes we have an obligation and responsibility to report what we have seen and heard. 

Are You Afraid to Speak Up? {Thursday Thoughts for Writers}Our platform may be tiny, our words imperfect and our confidence shaky, but that is not our concern. Fear is rarely a valid reason not to act. Instead, we trust the work and especially the Source behind it. We take the next illuminated step on this dark path because that is all we can see at this moment. And we have faith that we are being led. 

Sometimes we report what Jesus is cultivating in us personally.  Other times we are eyewitnesses of His presence and activity in the world. But many times writers are modern day prophets.  And like the prophets of old, our messages may fall on deaf ears.

Esther was a nobody-become-queen. She was a Jewish orphan who was chosen to become royalty at a time when her people were living in a foreign land. Aside from being a beauty, she was no one special.  And yet God strategically placed her in a position of influence and gave her the courage to speak up when the time was right [2].

The writer and speaker Sarah Bessey says that sometimes our calling is hiding somewhere in what makes us angry [3]. What enrages you? What brings you to tears? God may be leading you to take and leap and ride that violently thrashing horse--and write about it. Do you trust that He is strong enough to help you stay mounted for the duration of the ride?

We are to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.[4]”  The ESV says to "open your mouth for the mute."  Who needs you to speak up for them or they will never be heard? Perhaps God has brought us to be writers for "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).


[1] Podcast: Seminary Dropout, episode 66: Austin Channing Brown

[2] Esther 4:14 (NIV)

[3] Podcast: The Practice: Stories of Resurrection in Religion, Sarah Bessey

[4] Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV) 

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Are You Afraid to Speak Up? {Thursday Thoughts for Writers}

On Thursdays this year, I'll share thoughts, tips and inspiration for writers.  I'm certainly not an expert, but am simply seeking personal encouragement in this art and want to share with anyone who's also trying to find their way as a writer.  These short posts will come from books, articles, the Bible, my own thoughts, and other people.  Subscribe in the upper right corner so that you don't miss a post.  If you're new to the series, find all the posts here.  Come meet me in the comments--I'd love to read your thoughts on writing.

Happy writing!


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