An Undivided Heart to Write
“Unite my heart to write in honor of You!” I say this prayer based on David’s prayer: Unite my heart—give me an undivided mind—to fear your name. (NIV, CSB).
Does anyone out there feel divided? scattered? accosted with responsibilities? torn? like they’re spinning? I don’t know about you, but everywhere I turn, I hear people bemoaning the distracted pace of time. They are wishing it was different. Rushing off to a meeting. Twenty-five things to do in the next hour. Eating while they read. Reading while they talk.
Having a divided heart as a writer is a big disability. If our focus is distracted or torn, we have an uphill battle to get into the flow of writing—we groan to bring out of our hearts the creative ideas which we are dying to give birth to.
Here, the Bible shows its relevance across the ages. How did David, writing in the tenth century BC, know that our hearts would be fragmented and tossed to and fro by so many competing forces? Of course, he didn’t know about advertisers, accelerated schedules, and competing demands on our time. But he knew human life.
David knew that human beings need, indeed crave a single focus. We all need to be whole, not split into pieces, distracted, going in all directions. David also knew that God needs to be in the process of uniting the scattered part of our hearts.
And interestingly enough, God takes this need so seriously that he promises to unite our hearts. I will give them (you) an undivided heart, He says. (Ezek. 11:19) United hearts can get into the flow of what they are called to do; our words can flow out of a full, passionate, undivided heart. For writers, there has to be a time set apart, unassailed by the things that ricochet around us in order for us to craft the projects God calls us to do.
Personally, I have way too many focuses at one time. I counted the disruptions while I was writing this blog post. I was interrupted 25 times. Together with the whole world, I face the demands of phone calls, children or grandchildren. Responsibilities, advertising, mail, bills, knocks on the door, computer, house repair, appointments, Networks I’m in. What have I forgotten? Emergencies. Oh yes, emergencies. Add to this the biggest problem of all—the thoughts which wrestle around in my head and won’t be tamed. God save me—God save us!
I look out onto the porch and promise myself that in a few minutes I will open the door and stick my head out into the beauty. I will breathe deeply and smile and relax. I promise myself I’ll start sitting on the porch each morning. This is a good thing , if I would do it. It is always 10 minutes away.
So I pray, “Unite my heart. O Lord.” Period. “Unite my heart not to double task.” Double Period.
Are you ready for a laugh? I was busy double-tasking, listening to Spanish language lesson tapes, while driving home. Oops—the traffic piles up. Here I go, trying to cross two lanes to make a left turn, busily saying, “Bueno, si paga, compro.” (Translation: “All right, if you’re paying, I’m eating.”) It wasn’t until the red light that I saw the string of cars I had inconvenienced. They were so polite—no honking!
Then I remembered that, rather ironically, it was under this same overpass that I was involved in a four car-pile up several months ago. The young man who hit the three of us had been—you guessed it—double-tasking, talking on the phone. Then he spent a lot of time single-tasking with his parents on the phone. With the amount of damage he did, I think he’s probably still single-tasking with them. Double-tasking can be expensive.
I have read there is really no such thing as double-tasking. It is actually quickly switching back and forth between two things. And every time we have to switch back, we have to reorient ourselves. We are see-sawing back and forth all the time. Maybe it should be called half-tasking? And we begin to feel that something’s wrong if the see-sawing stops—what do I do now, we think?
The good news is that God is in the business of mending hearts. He promises to give singleness of heart and action. (Jer. 32:39) This promise comes right after an important declaration. God says, I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jer. 32:20) Indeed—is anything too hard?
I cannot close without saying a prayer for you, my friends.
Father, please unite my writer-friends’ hearts to write in honor of You.
Free their minds from the tangle and swirl of life and let them enjoy the flow of writing.
I want to read the good things they will bring forth into the world.
In Jesus’ name.