I never imagined being a writer. But I am a lover of words. I can’t help scooting to the edge of my seat when you share a story. And I’ve never lost that twinge of excitement that comes from opening to the first page of a book I can't wait to read.

Recently I re-found a book I read a decade ago, when I began writing, called Writing Down the Bones. This tiny book of essays by Natalie Goldberg is a delightful signpost, outlining the path of how to put pen to paper unafraid. So the real thoughts spill from inside you onto the page.

It's harder than it sounds and scarier than you expect . . . at least at the beginning.

And one of the reasons is what Natalie calls “first thoughts.” She teaches young writers to set a timer and free write whatever comes into their heads until the timer dings.

You’re not allowed to censor or cross out or edit or change a single letter while you thought dump. You simply write everything that comes into your head.

You see, many of the thoughts that emerge from our mouths (or pens) are 2nd thoughts or even 3rd or 4th thoughts because they’ve been censored for politeness, social correctness, or hope-they-won’t-think-I’m-a-freak-ness.

But first thoughts are what you get when you drill down beneath the edits and pour out your soul. Then the juicy bits emerge, like a mango or pineapple you just peeled where the juice dribbles down your chin. First thoughts can be fresh, inspiring, unexpected, real. And they point to what we actually think and feel.

First thoughts

As I reread Natalie’s description of first thoughts today, I wondered...

Couldn’t we scurry to find our journals and favorite blue pens, snuggle into a couch cushion, and share our first thoughts with Jesus?
Those thoughts we really think before the religious, socially-acceptable, tame-it-down edits?

It might be scarier than we think…at least at first. Because being honest with ourselves may not be what we're used to.

We might not try because we’re afraid.
Or because it might make us cry.
Or because it’s so real.
Or because of what it might look like coming up.

But first thoughts are not all negative or bad or raw. So when we dare to be brave, we discover that precious space for “just me and Jesus.” And find we enjoy being real with Him.

For of all the listeners in the world, Jesus is the safest. The truest. The kindest.

He already knows our first thoughts, of course. And He is eager to peer at them together and show us how to process or celebrate or laugh or heal or change our minds – whatever He knows our hearts need.

Because with Him we are fully known and fully loved. And we never have to edit ourselves for fear being cancelled.

We can trust our hearts to Him and watch them blossom under the care of the Word of Life.

Suggested Reading

Proverbs 28:7; 1 John 1:1-4

Prayer for Today

Dear Jesus, You are so patient and kind.  It is a privilege to be in Your presence and share my heart -- whether my thoughts are excited, angry, silly, or sad. Thank You for listening to me. You never condemn, but encourage me to see life through Your eyes. Help me to trust You even more. Amen.


  1. Is there something in my heart I hesitate to bring to Jesus?
  2. How have I experienced Him as trustworthy? (Or how does He want to reveal this to me?)