Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thoughts on Being a Submissive Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Thoughts on being a submissive writer - James 4:7
I was talking with a good friend of mine, Torry Martin, at a recent conference, and we got into an interesting discussion. He mentioned that being submissive was something that writers don’t often consider. The look on my face must have clued him into my confusion because he went on. 
“It’s a natural progression, from submitting things for possible publication to the concept of submission.”


I just sat there, amazed that I’d never considered that connection. He went on to say it was something I should write about. I tried to convince him to do it, but he said to consider it my first conscious act of writing submission.

So Torry, this one’s for you!

A Submissive Writer
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

As writers, we’re constantly being called to submit, even if we don’t realize it. Of course there’s the obvious connection, when we submit our writing for possible publication. But there are other ways as well.
  • We submit to God’s call when we put our words in tangible form—either handwritten or in a digital document.
  • We submit to others when we share our words for critique.
  • We submit when we invest our time and energy in organizations, classes and conferences.
These acts of submission are part of the path we must follow to become a working writer. Beyond that, they are things we must practice—not something that we only do once or twice. This process is sometimes painful, but growth and obedience always are. 

Submission is also an act that can bring on spiritual warfare. 

When we draw a line in the sand and begin to follow God in obedience, it invites attack from the enemy. We can expect him to come after us in many ways.
  • He tries to fill our days with busyness—often camouflaging it with good things to tempt us away from God’s best. 
  • He will use others to bring us down with negative words.
  • He whispers in our minds how inadequate and bad our efforts are.
  • He even tries to make us doubt what God Himself has shown us.
But just like the verse in James states, submission empowers us. When we refuse to be drawn off God’s path, Satan will flee. Maybe he won’t disappear forever, but by submitting we have a powerful weapon to combat him.

These are my thoughts on being a submissive writer, I’d love for you to share yours in the comments section below. 

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Thoughts on being a submissive writer - via @EdieMelson & @Torry_Martin (Click to Tweet) 


  1. Thanks Edie, and Torrie ;) for this insightful post on being a submissive writer. For me I find the spiritual warfare attacks the hardest to battle. That's when I keep repeating greater is HE who is in me than he who is in the world. I like the way you put it ... When we refuse to be drawn off God’s path, Satan will flee.

    1. Sandy, great thing to remember! Thanks for stoping by, blessings, E

  2. I have never made the connection about submission and writing before either. Great concept and thought provoking. God gives us the abilities, talents, and words but before they can benefit anyone we must submit our words first to God before they are submitted to editors and publishers. Thanks for the insight.

    1. Barbara, I love that - we must submit our words first to God! Thanks for sharing, Blessings, E

  3. Thanks, Edie. Great post. I believe a Christian writer also maintains submission toward the reader. Colossians 4:6 reads, "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Blessings, Joel.

    1. Joel, great insight! Thanks so much for adding your thoughts! Blessings, E

  4. Thanks, Edie and Torri. You two always inspire me. Wish I had read this sooner. I recently allowed my anxiety about dying before I can get a book ready to publish (not really a joke) to render me inactive. I eventually had a little chat with myself and forced myself to submit to what I knew God wants me to do, but not until I did some wallowing in the muck of inactivity. More wasted time ticking away on my life clock. The thing that usually drags me down is emotion. Hopefully I will allow God to take control of my emotions and guide me straight to submission the next time I doubt myself. I printed your post and put it beside my computer to remind myself that God controls the timing, I merely need to practice submission.

    1. Karen, I'll be praying for you - you inspire me! Blessings, E

  5. Interesting that you bring up this topic, since I've been considering it as a writer for nearly a year and as an artist for over a year.

    The submission I was called to was different. I was called into submission in letting those talents lie idle for a season. It's been nearly 18 months since I last worked on a major painting. On September 1, I began reworking a novel after nine months of creative stillness in the fiction department.

    I did want to write and paint during that time, but both activities had been so fraught with frustration in the months prior to the creative stillness, that I always reminded myself God had me where He wanted me. Forcing either painting or writing wasn't going to help matters.

    Yes, we need to be submissive in surrendering control of all parts of our lives to God.

    We also need to be submissive in writing what He gives us to write in the manner He gives us to write it.

    But we also need to be submissive enough to know when we're being put on idle and to be patient and wait on the LORD until such a time as He releases us to go back to work.

    A very timely post. Thank you very much.

    1. Carrie Lynn, thank you for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

    2. As difficult as it is to have the work we submit rejected, it doesn't begin to compare with the rejection our Savior has endured.

  6. This reminds me that I need to surrender (to give oneself up). I forget the power that is in surrendering to Christ. When I surrender first, submitting is right there with it.
    Thanks for the post!