Do What You Are

I almost laughed at the silly statement.  Then, I sat still and considered the depth of understanding demonstrated by the author.

I was reading one of those ubiquitous habits of a highly successful person lists.  They seem to be everywhere and to be tailored for every possible profession. This one had to do with writers.

I’d like to be a writer when I grow up. It makes sense for me to pay attention when free advice is offered.

I don’t know what the first five habits were.  Can’t remember anything about them, really.  I think there was something about reading more, and maybe a suggestion that I find someplace quiet to do it.  I really don’t remember.

It doesn’t matter.  I can remember the important habit.  The silly one.

The list was full of good advice which I will, no doubt, ignore completely.  The helpful author ended with one piece of counsel which I will not ignore.

The last item on the list said simply:  Successful writers write.

They write.  They do what they do.

More than that, they do what they are.

It really does seem unnecessary to even make the statement, doesn’t it?  Of course, they write!  How could you call yourself a writer if you didn’t write?

I remembered the principle quite by chance the other day.  I was talking with a young man at church about a great piano solo his brother had played that morning.  As is common with such conversations, I felt the need to throw in the statement that I was a pianist, too.

The young man didn’t let that get past without comment.  “Oh.  You play, too?  Where do you play?”

I was taken aback.  I haven’t played the piano anywhere for years.  Seriously.  Years.  I won’t even play at home anymore.  Oh, once in awhile, I strike a chord and a melody of about four notes and I’m done.

I don’t play the piano.  I had to admit as much to the nice fellow.  He was kind and didn’t press the subject further.

I’m not a pianist.  I do know how to play the piano, but I don’t do it.

The list of these natural correlations would be endless, so I’ll just mention a few to reinforce the obvious.

Dieters diet.  Runners run.  Builders build.  Preachers preach.  Drivers drive.  Actors act.  Photographers photograph.

The concept is pretty clear, isn’t it?  Also, pretty unassailable.  If one is something, they do that something.

I promise, I sat down tonight with only one goal in mind–to write.  When nothing came immediately to mind, that phrase, writers write, began to go through my thoughts and I simply started to do just that–to write.  My problem is, as usually happens, a bigger lesson is just begging to be learned from my poverty of original ideas.

I’m wondering if too many of us are claiming to be something, but are not actually putting that something into practice.  It is true of many things, but I’m especially thinking about our faith as I write this.

If I claim to be a disciple of someone or something, but there is no discipline practiced, am I really a disciple?

Should I put it more clearly?

If I claim to be a follower of Christ (the name Christian means exactly that), but don’t actually follow His teachings, I’m not actually His follower, am I?

The words are misused so often, but He is the one who spoke them, long ago now.  They still haven’t lost their impact.

By their fruit, they shall be known.

I can’t be a writer if I don’t write.  I’m not a pianist if I don’t play the piano.  What I am, I will put into practice.


And what of grace?  Lest it appear that I am suggesting that we must work ourselves into God’s presence, I will say unequivocally that the work of salvation is wholly and completely His.  Grace is freely given.  Freely.

Our walk with the Giver of grace is another story.  The story of our life.

It’s time to do what we are.  Past time.

I’m going to keep writing, too.

I want to be a writer when I grow up.  Someday.



“You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
(Matthew 7:16 ~ NASB)


“Enough had been thought, and said, and felt, and imagined.  It was about time that something should be done.”
(from Surprised by Joy ~ C.S. Lewis ~ British theologian/novelist ~ 1989-1963)




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved.


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