The Death of a Seed
As writers, we all have our creative processes, complete with our unique ways of getting the job done and our favorite parts of the journey. Some of us love the discovery of a bright new idea. Others enjoy revisions the most, polishing those rough-cut words until they shine. Not just a few of us, I suspect, favor finishing a piece over any part of actually creating it.
As often as I’ve written about the glories of inspiration, I’m sure my choice is obvious. I love planting a new little seed of an idea and watering it with as many words as I can pour out, waiting to see if it takes root. Sometimes it’s a dud, ending up in a never-opened folder inside a folder on my hard drive. It remains a seed and never gets to be anything more.
But sometimes it sprouts, and if revisions are about “killing your darlings,” then that is when the seed dies. When Jesus said in John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
He was preparing to go to the cross to die for the sins of mankind. In light of His ultimate sacrifice and resurrection, losing mere words in exchange for better ones looks small indeed, and even more so considering that the pain of surrender amounts to my pride lobbying for whatever cleverness I’ve credited to myself. Nonetheless, surrender teaches us to lean on the Lord, and 1 Corinthians 3:7 is clear: “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
My current work-in-progress has been full of seeds – ideas I loved – that did not work and could not be allowed to remain as they were. They keep growing and changing, and though this process is painful, my constant prayer is that my work will bear fruit for God’s Kingdom.