September 17, 2013

INADEQUACY by Bryan Norford

I have previously commented here and elsewhere on the tension between commitment and inspiration: we are often committed to writing when we don’t feel inspired. Depending on our temperament, it can be the difference between light and darkness.

We need to be careful how we think of inspiration. Inspired work is not necessarily easy. Inspiration may simply be an idea requiring a further ninety per cent perspiration to develop. Conversely, apparently mechanical writing often initiates inspiration as it progresses.

While most people may use the idea of inspiration in its mundane sense—an easy flow as we write—the Christian considers its fundamental meaning: drawing upon the wisdom of the Spirit. All Christian writing—fiction as well as non-fiction—depends on God’s wisdom to infuse it.

For many of us, this need leads to a sense of desperation; a looming despair Jesus recognised in the first four of his beatitudes—we mourn our sinfulness, we hunger and thirst for righteousness to cover us, we are distressed and humbled by our poverty of spirit.

But Jesus went further. He set this deep sense of inadequacy as the condition for fulfilment of our needs. Not only is this beginning of new life in Him, I believe it is also the starting point for our writing—a profound yearning for the Spirit to permeate our thinking and imagination.

But mourning our inadequacy is the basis of our comfort, for Jesus tells us our needs will be filled. In the end, neither our goodness nor ability are the final criteria for success; that is gained solely as the Spirit fills us and uses our resources for His plan and will. So we write in faith.

That doesn’t mean our training and experience are unimportant; proficiency in our work is critical for excellence. But of greater significance, any expertise we accumulate is a resource for the Spirit to use. We simply lay at His feet the talents he gave us that we have developed.

Thus, I am driven to pray each day before writing: "Lord, my thinking and understanding is so often fallen and distorted. I desperately need your insight and wisdom, that as I write, I may clearly express your thoughts and desires.”


  1. Every writer/would-be-writer should read this. So well-stated. thank-you.

  2. Exactly. It starts with God. He is our inspiration. We can learn the craft but He shows us the way, and gives us the strength to continue.

    May I use part of this to reprint for Under the Cover of Prayer? You can email me at

  3. Well said, Bryan. What a wonderful reminder that for a Christian inspired writing can be "drawing upon the wisdom of the Spirit." That is both humbling and empowering. We can't say, "I can't. . .

    May we yearn "for the Spirit to permeate our thinking and imagination," so we can write in faith. Your blog is inspired and inspiring. Thanks.


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