I could call myself a writer. I am smart enough to know that I cannot write professionally and make a living. But I have been writing since my teen years just as a way to express the emotions, thoughts and ideas of my heart.
But think about this: Really, everyone is a writer. A person doesn’t have to have an article published in the Clovis News Journal or be an author of a best-selling book to be a writer. A person doesn’t have to be recognized by being on the New York Times best seller list to be a successful writer. Simply put, my actions are the words of my own life’s letter. It is the same for everyone. The readers are the people we interact with every day, the people that we come in contact with in the store, on the street or in the school. What we say and do everyday is like writing a living letter for the world to read. All those who know us casually or know us well read our letters.
Our letters are true stories. They are the accounts of our lives told from our actions. It’s a little scary to think that my individual life letter reflects my life’s philosophy, ideals and emotions. An illustration of this was found years ago in the syndicated column “Dear Abby.” I remember little of the letter word-for-word, but I do recollect the writer was a sixteen year-old girl. Abby published the girl’s letter. This was the sum of it: “Dear Abby: Happiness is knowing that your parents won’t almost kill you if you get in a little too late at night. Happiness is having parents that trust you. Happiness is having a room of your own. Happiness is being part of the ‘in-group’ at school. Happiness is making good grades and making your parents very proud of you. Happiness is having parents that don’t fight. Happiness is having nice clothes. Happiness is something that I don’t have.” It was signed: “16 and Very Unhappy.”
After a few days, Abby published a response to this letter from a thirteen-year-old girl. The new letter read: “Dear Abby: Happiness is being able to walk. Happiness is being able to talk. Happiness is being able to hear. Happiness is being able to see. Unhappiness is reading a letter from a girl who can do all of these things and she still isn’t happy. I can talk. I can hear. I can see but I can’t walk.” It was signed: “13 and Very Happy!”
Paul verified that all Christians are living letters. He wrote: “You are like a letter written by Christ but you are not written with pen and ink or on tablets made of stone. You are written in our hearts by the Spirit of the living God.” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
Every day people read our lives and decide on what kind of people each of us are. How does your letter read? What is the tone and philosophy of your personal lifestyle letter? What is the message your letter declares to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers? Does your life’s letter read with concern and love for others, or does your personal happiness fluctuate with the changing times? Does your personal lifestyle letter read with self-centeredness and selfishness? Are people uplifted after they have read your letter or are they frustrated they met you? Does your lifestyle letter match your spiritual talk?
A student made a critical distinction the other day when she wrote about this very subject in a note to me: There must always be a connection between belief and behavior — a bridge from what we say and how we live.
If my daily letter does not reflect the Christ that is within me, maybe I should reconsider my commitment to Him. How about you?