Has God Given You Reading and Writing to Do?

“If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”

It might surprise you to hear who said that.

It’s Stephen King.

Stephen King is not an author I usually read. Too scary. When his first break-through novel-turned-movie came on TV, I watched Carrie.

It was a mistake. Because King knows how to show a story you won’t forget. And I’d rather forget a story like Carrie, but I still haven’t.

Stephen King is that good.

He knows what he’s meant to do, so he does it. “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”

What has God given you to do?

There are days I couldn’t give you a clear answer. On some days I might see a lot of things God has given me to do. On other days, it may feel like nothing at all, and certainty nothing of importance. 

But on most days, I feel a deep call from God to spend time with words. Writing, reading, learning, memorizing.

King must feel that urging, too. He knows he is meant to read and write. He explains it in his nonfiction book, On Writing.

In the book, King answers this question: “Do you do it for the money, honey?”

“The answer is no. Don’t now and never did.

“. . . I have written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side—I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”

What brings you joy? What could you do forever? What delight has God planted in your heart?

Is it reading and writing, too? God has taught me SO much through reading, and I know he has much more to teach me through books. Authors are some of my most valued teachers. 

And though I rarely label myself an author, even as I write, I learn, too. To make sense of a struggle, I often have to write it out. God works through words to bring me clarity and guidance. 

I thank God for reading and writing. They both bring me joy.

Both reading and writing show me God. 

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Can you handle Stephen King books? (The only other King book I’ve read is 11/22/63; it was fabulous but also intense!) Do you call yourself a writer? A reader? Share your thoughts in the comments.

revised from the archives

15 thoughts on “Has God Given You Reading and Writing to Do?

  1. Michele Morin

    I am So with you in avoiding King ‘s intense writing, but I know that I need to read his writing book. I am definitely a reader, and spend a lot of time fiddling around with words on lined paper as well.

  2. Lynn

    “What brings you joy? What could you do forever? What delight has God planted in your heart?” I am going to journal on these words today. While in a career transition, deciding my next move has been tricky and those questions are targeted to where I am exactly at! Thank you Lisa! I love to read and to write and get lost joyfully in creating. I actually read a lot of Stephen King. Not all as he has many, many books! There are less scary ones, like Dr. Sleep and Joyland. He has a way of even making the minor characters pop out of the page!

  3. Pam Ecrement

    I have only read Stephen King’s book on writing. I am not a fan of his books or movies…don’t like horror (There’s enough in real life in the headlines every day.). I (as you know) love books, reading, and writing as I learn to hear God’s voice through not only his Word but also so many other writers and books as well. That helps strengthen my own writing and my own voice as God leads me to write.

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Wow, Lisa. This is convicting. Yes, I love words, and one way or the other, I can’t stop writing or reading them (or speaking them for that matter. I’m a prolific writer and a loquacious speaker)! Reading, though, interestingly, came later in life (by this I mean just for the joy of it or to remain a lifelong learner). I actually had to take a speedreading course in grade school, because teachers thought I read too slowly (and I was in “accelerated” classes. :)). But I only read exactly what was required of me. Now I suffer from tsundoku (see my recent FB post on this, and the number of my books has gotten out of hand. I read daily, but I also buy books on sale or when titles/subjects interest me–knowing they won’t be in print forever–so my purchases now exceed the time I have to read. I write many greeting card notes and letters (slowed down due to a vertiginous condition where bending my head down dizzies me), I write longwinded emails and blog comments (poor Lisa!!!), and my texts are so long I have to recharge my phone constantly. 🙂 And I love journaling, and my journals, piled up, literally tower over my 5’4″ frame! BUT where this hits between the eyes, is King’s comment. He is a professional author, as am I. I have published three books, the last being my passion book on prayer-journaling, which was “packaged” as a gorgeous gift book, despite its substantive, often rawly transparent writing. It was published right at the huge economic downturn, and my reputable Christian publisher, Multnomah, folded, and along with it, my book (no good marketing). So often I have wondered if I should write professionally again (I did for a couple years recently for Dr. Charles Stanley’s In Touch Magazine), but this too folded, though his wonderful ministry thrives. Writing for publication is an exacting, grueling, competitive process, and at this time in my life, and no longer with a viable platform, I just shove down the desire. BUT have I squelched God’s call on my life? That is the the real question? This is a sobering post for me, and thank you for sharing. I love all your posts and am so glad to have met you (and I wish it were tete-a-tete). And may we all please set the record straight, once, for all? YOU ARE AN AUTHOR! Case closed. Exclamation point! So there! 🙂

  5. David

    I like making and finding patterns – in words, ideas, numbers, patterns in people (teams, communities, …). Harmonious patterns of course. Flourishing patterns. If I could think of that as my gift from God I would be happy.

    I went through a horror phase years ago, but only read one of King’s (“Christine”). Was struck by the workmanship but also how efficient the novel was (prose and structure) I can well believe he churns out hundreds of the things.

    I love reading, and (like probably most readers) I fantasise about writing. You are writing beautifully as always.

  6. Barbara Harper

    Count me also as not a horror fan. I did enjoy the movie Stand by Me, mainly because it involved a group of boys, and I had boys. I was surprised to see it was based on a novella by King. It wasn’t horror-based at all. I keep thinking I’ll look up the novella some time.

    I love dealing with words, too, reading and writing them. I’m not always sure what God wants me to do regarding writing them, but I’m thankful He uses me sometimes. I’m trying to keep my desires submissive to His.

  7. Anita Ojeda

    I never would have guessed who wrote that wisdom! I’m not a fan of horror. Didn’t he write Cujo, too? Pedro made me watch that one—I thought it was so sad. I write, but I’m not convinced I’m doing the kind of writing right now that God wants me to do. I’ve pondered going back to fiction.

  8. Jeanne Takenaka

    Lisa, I so appreciate your wisdom. As Anita said, I never would have guessed that quote came from Stephen King. It just goes to show we rarely know people (especially public figures) as well as we think we do.

    I haven’t read any of SK’s books because they would keep me dreaming in nightmares for weeks. But, I know he is an amazing author. I love writing, reading, and I love photography. I’m at a stage in my life where there isn’t as much time as I’d like to explore any of these.

  9. Joanne Viola

    I cannot read or watch anything scary as it works on me something awful. I would be waking up with my heart pounding and in a sweat from nightmares. I love to read and write and in doing both, I feel I come to know God and His ways more deeply.

  10. Lesley

    Like most people here I have never read any of Stephen King’s books apart from the writing one. I was thinking recently that I need to read that again as it was several years ago. I love reading and writing and they are definitely things I feel called to do, though there are other things too and it’s hard to get the right balance of time sometimes!

  11. Jean Wise

    I am with you in not being a reader of Stephen King but his writing advise is worth paying attention to. Love he question he offers.

  12. Donna

    Lisa, love the Stephen King quote-indeed if God has given us something to do, why would we not do it? Reading is a joy for me, writing too, though it’s hard work creating beauty on a page. Painting brings me joy, as if my very being flows through the brush onto canvas so I can see it. But by far the thing that brings me the most joy is loving others well as Christ has loved me. It looks different from time to time, but fills me to overflowing to touch another human soul with the knowledge that they are seen, heard and loved.

  13. Theresa Boedeker

    Yup, reading and writing definitely feeds my soul and is something I am called to do. In college literature class we had a Stephen King book to read. Had to ask the teacher to read another book, or I would not have been able to sleep for the rest of my life. His writing book was a good read. Yes to this: “Both reading and writing show me God.”

  14. Tea With Jennifer

    I love writing Lisa! And like you found journalling my greatest inspiration in the early days (although I still journal to this day).

    Even as a little girl I loved creative writing at school.
    I had lots of Penpals as well. So the joy of the written word has been in my life for a very long time.
    But writing as an author only within the last fifteen years.

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