Friday, April 9, 2021

What is Your Identity as a Writer Tied To?

by Joshua Masters @JoshuaJMasters

I am not a writer, but my next book is coming out soon. 


What is our identity as writers for God? One ministry I oversee as a pastor is Celebrate Recovery. It helps people overcome the stumbling blocks in their faith by pursuing a healing relationship with Jesus. Unlike many recovery programs, this one is for anything preventing you from getting closer to God.


Whether they’re facing anxiety, anger, fear, self-worth, relationship problems, food issues, or chemical addiction, those taking part in the program are very intentional about how they introduce themselves during Open Share Groups.


“Hi. I’m a child of the Most High God. I struggle with anxiety and depression and my name is Tom.”


“I’m a grateful follower of Jesus Christ celebrating victory over drugs and alcohol. I still struggle with self-worth and my name is Elizabeth.”


“I am called to a purpose by my Creator. I’m seeking His healing from an unwanted divorce and my name is Michael.”


Do you see the pattern? 

Everyone may say it differently, but we introduce ourselves like this to remind ourselves (and one another) that our identity is not in our struggles. I am not my anxiety. I’m a child of the King who happens to struggle with anxiety. It may seem like a minor distinction, but it’s vital to our spiritual growth.


The greatest step in overcoming our struggles is realizing they’re not who we are. We find our identity in the power and purpose of Christ, not our mistakes or what the world says about us.


Yet many of us in the Christian writing community continue to live under the weight of how others see us and what our past says about who we are.


But that’s not our only problem. Old hurts and addictions aren’t the only walls we build between us and our identity in Christ. Sometimes it can be our pride, insecurities, or ambition. Even the call God has put on our lives to write can become a golden calf we trip over on our spiritual journey.


Working in an industry of rejection and comparison has manipulated many of us to look for our value in the day-to-day circumstances of our writing careers rather than drawing closer to the One who’s called us to it.


I once had a literary agent tell me my book proposal was the worst thing he’d ever read, and that I was fooling myself if I thought I could be successful. He said I’d probably never please God trying to serve Him as an author—that I didn’t have any value as a writer.


Well, that’s a paraphrase. What he actually said was, “I don’t think this project is for me.” But my self-worth was so attached to what this agent thought of me, I manufactured the rest. Am I alone in that experience?


That’s an identity issue.


Is my hope found in Christ or in my title as a writer?


When we wrap our identity up in the success of our writing rather than its purpose, we surrender the call God’s placed on our lives. We exchange our identity in Christ for fleeting moments of approval from the world.


We measure our value by asking:

  • How many likes did my post get?
  • How many reviews does my book have on Amazon?
  • How many people watched my Instagram reel?
  • Did the agent ask me to send her my proposal?
  • How many people joined my Clubhouse room?
  • Did the magazine accept my article?

If God has called you to be a writer, then that calling is significant. But those questions of sales and stats can’t measure how significant we are. They can only measure how important we feel. 


But being significant and feeling important are not the same.


Importance is pride-based.

Significance is compassion-based.


Importance glorifies MY name.

Significance glorifies GOD’S name.


Importance is a feeling.

Significance is a state of being.


Importance is built on what the world tells me.

Significance is built on what God tells me.


And don’t miss this one:

Importance is always fleeting.

But significance is eternal.


If we hope to make a lasting impact for the Kingdom with our writing, we must have our identity firmly rooted in who God says we are rather than embracing the false narratives of the enemy. When God wrote your story, do you think He wanted you to continue reading the version your antagonist wrote? Or does He want you to embrace who He created you to be? Not a writer—but a beloved child He chooses to elevate.


Yes, our day-to-day activities will include effective social media strategies. We’ll write proposals and submit articles. We’ll do the work. But we should not base our identity on the title, tasks, or outcomes.


God has planned a life of meaning and significance for you. That’s what I shared in a recent sermon series on Discovering My True Identity, but you’ll only find meaning in your life when you stop looking for it outside the significance you have in Christ.


When my identity is in His love for me, who cares if an editor takes a red pen to my passive verb?


He says I am loved. 

He says I am rescued, and chosen, and significant. 


Imagine the power our writing would have if we wrote from that identity. Imagine the closeness we’d feel to God as our fingers tapped out the words He gives us while truly believing the words He says about us. 


I am not a writer. 

I’m a child of the Most High King, who empowers me to write as a reflection of His love for me.


Joshua J. Masters is a pastor, author, and speaker with a heart for encouraging others. His book on prayer, AMERICAN PSALMS, was a Serious Writer’s Book of the Decade finalist. He’s been featured on CBN Television, HIS Radio, the Light Radio Network, and worked in the film industry as a member of SAG-AFTRA performer. He is a regular teacher and speaker for large groups. A self-proclaimed sci-fi and comic book geek, Josh loves film, pop culture and is known in some circles as THE BAT PASTOR. Joshua was raised in the White Mountains of New England and now serves as a pastor in South Carolina where he lives with his wife, Gina, and their miniature poodle, FRANKLIN THE PUP, who is the subject of his latest book. Josh would love to connect with you on his website,  JOSHUAJMASTERS.COM


  1. If only that agent could have seen your heart Pastor Joshua. If only we could show our passions better with our words. I'm convinced the "if onlys" in life are of this world and have no place in God's kingdom. As Christian writers, there should be no room for regret in our writing lives. I'm learning to be like the baseball pitchers of old (I grew up loving the game, but it has left me a couple decades ago, so I can't speak to modern-day baseball). Years ago, when a pitcher served up a homerun, rather than get down on themselves; they would just dig deeper into their repertoire and find a more effective pitch for the next batter. Sometimes, they couldn't recover from the grand slam and have to be replaced. It didn't make them a bad pitcher, it just wasn't their day. What it did reinforce in them is to focus on the past. The best pitchers overcame adversity by believing in themselves and their purpose. Instead, be the little boy playing baseball by himself. After tossing the ball into the air, then swinging and missing three times, he smiled. Once again, three balls tossed up in the air and three missed swings of the bat. However, rather than being dejected, the little boy mused; "Wow! I must be an even better pitcher than I am a batter!" Thanks for your encouraging words sir.

    1. "The best pitchers overcame adversity by believing in themselves and their purpose."
      YES! That's exactly right, J.D. That's a wonderful image that fits perfectly with the message of this post. I always appreciate your insight. May we all be focused on our purpose and not the pitching mound we're standing on.

  2. If your photo is any indication of your identity, your smile hints at the fun you bring as Bat Pastor. Your words, in person or via writing, bring glory to God. If you ever think the opposite on those days it’s not your day, come see me. Or better yet, use that relationship with God you have going on.

    Carry on, sir.

    1. Warren, I am so grateful for your kind words. Thank you for your support and encouragement today. It means a lot. I pray we'll all look to God's glory for our identity and perspective.

  3. Timely, helpful, encouraging, wonderful. Thank you Joshua.

    1. You're welcome, Dawn. I'm so grateful to hear you were encouraged.

  4. Bless you for your words today. This needs to be read by EVERYONE, not just writers! ALL who are children of the Most High God will glean much encouragement from this. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much, Regina. The issue of identity is vital to our purpose and growth in Christ. If you'd like more about this for a general audience, I encourage you to check out the series linked in the post.

  5. So true. Yes, I'm a writer (and a mom and wife and friend and editor and so on). BUT my most important role is "child of God."

    1. Amen, Jessica. We have so many roles in our lives, but if we remain focused on our identity in Christ, He guides us through all the others.

  6. Very powerful words, packed with truth and wisdom! Thank you, Joshua, for your honest and encouraging post.

    1. You're welcome, Crystal. I'm glad you were encouraged and I pray we will continue to seek our identity in Christ as we continue to write for the kingdom of God.

  7. I love your biblical perspective on this Joshua. We need to live this way in every aspect of our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  8. God's timing is perfect for your encouraging words! I needed to be reminded of this today as I restart my writing journey. I have allowed myself to get distracted as a writer and it felt like failure, but in reality, as a Child of God I have been doing other "chores" for my Father. Thank you for providing the inspiration for my perspective change.

  9. This post is powerful and just what I needed to read today. I've been blogging for years and often ask myself why with so few subscribers. The answer is because God loves me and put the desire to write in my heart. Therefore, He must have plans for it. That is all I need to remember.