How Writing Changed My Life

From Jeff: This is a guest post by Jeremy Statton. He is an orthopedic surgeon and a writer. He blogs about Living Better Stories. You can follow him on Twitter or download a free copy of his eBook Grace Is.

The last time I wrote anything was my freshman year in college for a history class. I was headed to medical school, a life dedicated to science. Writing was of no interest to me. In fact, I hated it.

Writing Photo
Photo credit: Ramunas Geciauskas (Creative Commons)

Fourteen years later, I finally put pen to paper again, and it changed my life.

The plan

By nature, I am a planner. Scientific. Precise. I had my life mapped out. A plan that any parent would be proud of.

As a senior in high school I decided to become an orthopedic surgeon. The course of my life was set. College. Medical school. Marriage crammed into the empty space somewhere. Maybe kids. Then Residency.

For the most part, life went according to the plan. Kids came earlier than expected. Much earlier. But it all worked out.

Mixed in the background of everything was church. Although life is full of uncertainties, for me church was not one of them. I attended every Sunday, dressed in coat and tie, armed with my Bible. I fit the mold. I was in the club.

I viewed God with this same precision. The same science. I was one of those people who had the answer to everything. The world was black and white and the Bible was a prescription for whatever ailed you.

God was understandable and I, more than anybody else, understood him. I had all of the answers. Yes. I was one of those guys — I was a jerk.

The mess

You would think a scientist would understand the Law of Entropy, that instead of being predictable and organized, life becomes messy.

Eventually it happened to me. My tidy view of God fell apart. I was forced to choose between a family member, someone I loved, and my church.

I then did what I never imagined: I quit.

Suddenly, like a tornado that reaps devastation in just a moment, I found myself standing in a heap of rubble, all of my answers laying at my feet, ripped to pieces.

The world becomes a scary place when the one thing you felt certain of completely falls apart.

Entropy sucks.

The medicine

I found myself on a journey that I had never intended to travel. A journey to find myself. This was when I began to write.

My heart was burdened, and I wrote to get what was in me out. I started writing because if I didn’t, I would explode.

Writing was the imperfect medicine for my broken soul.

In some ways life started to make sense again. In other ways it didn’t, but writing helped me heal.

It wasn’t much, just a little blog. A place to confess. A place to explore different ideas. A place to meet new people.
A place to find me.

But writing has changed me forever. Changed me for good:

  • Writing helped me understand the ideas that were swirling around in my head and gave them substance.
  • Writing gave me the confidence to explore new ideas.
  • Writing helped me meet new people, new friends that were either on the same journey or understood my own.
  • Writing showed me the value in people, especially those that are different from me.
  • Writing forced me to ask questions about what is most important in life.
  • Writing taught me to take risk.
  • Writing taught me to feel instead of just looking at the world through the lens of science.
  • Writing taught me to love.
  • Writing helped me find God again.

I am still an orthopedic surgeon. I am still married, now with four kids. I go to church, but it is completely different. I go not out of duty, but out of love. But now I am a writer.

How has writing changed your life? Tell us in the comments. (If you want to share this article on Pinterest, consider pinning this quote.)

*Photo credit: Ramunas Geciauskas (Creative Commons)