Straight from the Heart
By Lisa Elliott
I will not soon forget a writing tactic that my dad taught me during public school. I was uptight about writing my first history exam. I hated history. I was no good at remembering dates. I didn’t care about names and stories that had nothing to do with my life. Not to mention the paralysis that would come over my mind when it came time to write the exam.
My dad’s advice to me was this: “Lisa, study and take in as much as you can. Then when you go to write the exam, just write and write and write all you can think to write about. That way, you’ll be sure to at least scrape up a few marks.” So that’s what I did. I passed the exam and just barely passed the course—likely due to my poor history teacher not wanting to have to endure my ramblings for another year!
I ran into a similar problem at Bible College when I was required to take a public speaking course. I was petrified. It’s one thing to write and write about something I didn’t really know or care about for the teacher’s eyes only. But to have to ramble on and on about things I had absolutely no interest in—in front of my peers—was an exercise in utmost humility.
The day came years later when I sensed the Lord’s calling in my life to be his mouthpiece. Believe me, I came up with more excuses than Moses during his burning bush encounter with the Lord. I was convinced He was talking to the wrong person. Like with Moses, He told me that it wasn’t about me. He assured me He’d give me the words to say. And He’d go with me. Finally, he promised me that He wouldn’t allow me to look like a fool as long as I allowed Him to take the stage while I hid in the shadow of the cross. Best of all, He wanted me to speak from my experience!
He wanted me to share things that He’d already taught me and worked through in my life. I wouldn’t have to ramble on about dates, or people, or things I didn’t know. Rather, He directed me to His Word. He caused His Word to resonate in my heart as I became a doer rather than simply a hearer of it. He instructed me to speak based upon what I knew, what struck my heart, and what inspired me to live the abundant life He was growing inside of me.
The key difference between my history exam, my public speaking class, and God’s call in my life is that He wants me to speak about things that do interest me and things that have everything to do with my life. Since that time, over twenty years ago, I’ve obediently made my ramblings a career as an inspirational speaker, and more recently as a published author. The Lord surely has a sense of humour!
So, with my earthly father’s words of advice, along with my Heavenly Father’s Word hidden in my heart, I have found the key to successful speaking and writing! I share what I know and what I have lived out, straight from the heart, as God lives His life in and through me. “I will not venture to speak [or write] of anything that Christ has not done in and through me first” (Romans 15:18).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org