When Words Bring Life: It’s More than Your Story

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By Tara Johnson

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

~Proverbs 18:21

As writers, many of us crave that elusive book contract. We struggle to learn the craft. We go to conferences. We network, build a platform, grow social media…all with the idea that if our hard work pays off, we’ll get to hold a shiny new novel in our fingers. We use “the other stuff” as a stepping stone. A means to an end. But what if it’s not? What if our greatest ministry is not the story of our heart?

Not long ago, I trudged into my office to begin my morning’s work and stared at my computer screen. Another day, another needed social media post to build my following. But what to talk about? I had shared everything I wanted to share, trudged down every rabbit hole I could explore in the past few months.

Throwing up my hands, I typed the first thing that entered my mind. Jesus wants you just as you are.

With that finished, I delved into brainstorming, editing, dangling my creativity over the precipice of insanity. You know the drill. Real writing.

Several days later, I received a message from a Facebook friend. She wrote, Tara, thank you so much for your words. They changed my life.

A thrill stole through my heart as I offered up a small prayer of thanksgiving. With three books already published, I wondered which story had such a profound effect. I typed back, I’m so delighted! I would love to hear which book left such an impact.

My friend replied, No book. I don’t have much time to read novels. It was your Facebook post. You know, the one of Jesus saying I should come just as I am. I’ve been fighting Him for years, trying to get myself ‘in shape’ before I would surrender. He used that post to convict me and that morning, I knelt and gave my life to Jesus. Thank you!

I was humbled and stunned. None of the stories I had meticulously agonized over had made a dent in this woman’s life. But seven simple words were the catalyst for transformation.

Too often, we get focused on the wrong things. The external. The perishable. The things that won’t matter in the end. When we stand before God, He won’t ask us if we made a bestsellers list, or how many books we sold in 2019. He will ask us about our relationship with His Son and how well we loved people.

Perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of “the other stuff” as stepping stones and focus on the people we meet through those opportunities. Platforms should be a place to glorify Jesus, not our own desires. The outcome is in His hands, not our own.

And what a freeing thing to realize the small things in life really are the big things. Our words included.

Your ministry is more than your story. @TaraMinistry #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity
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When small words have big impact. @TaraMinistry #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity
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Tara Johnson is an author and speaker and writes stories that help people break free from the lies they believe about themselves. Tara’s debut novel Engraved on the Heart (Tyndale) earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and was a finalist in the Carol and Christy awards. She, her husband, and children live in Arkansas. She can be reached at www.TaraJohnsonStories.com.




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