Posted by on May 5, 2013

…isn’t the same as actually doing it.

Buryl RedLast week I attended a memorial service for Buryl Red, prolific composer, leader in the music world, and friend to many. He was the kind of person who thoroughly lived and expected those around him to do the same. I’d only met him once, but my husband is a member of the Centurymen, a group that Mr. Red started forty years ago.

Jeanine Tesori, one of the people who spoke at the service, shared something that’s had me thinking.

She said Buryl had told her that “Talking about writing isn’t writing. It’s only a prelude to writing.

Writing makes you a writer.

He was talking about music, but I think it applies to a lot of things in life.

We can talk and plan and hope and dream and even pray, but at some point, we need to put the pen to the paper, the plow to the soil, the voice to our speech. 

I had spent years wondering if I should be a writer before I every really got started writing. I pondered about it.  I conferred with my friends. I fretted and prayed and worried.

I talked about it, and in turn, I wasted years not studying the craft, not writing draft after draft, not getting critiqued and rejected, and I wasn’t a writer. I was just somebody who talked about writing.

This doesn’t just apply to stuff like writing music or books. It applies to everything.

Doesn’t it?

I want to know my Bible better and be able to share my faith. That’s great, but until I actually start reading my Bible and talking to people, I’ll only be standing in place, not moving toward anything. 

Lately, I’ve been talking about being healthier. You know, exercising, eating better, sleeping eight hours. But mostly so far it’s just been talk. I’ve made a few lists. I’ve whined about it, but I haven’t actually exercised, put the caffeine (gasp) away, or gotten to bed before midnight.


The best I can figure is that it’s easier to just stay the same. I want the healthy life, but I don’t want to have to work for it.

That sounds terrible, and I’m embarrassed to admit it.

I think God wants a healthy life for me.

He wants me to be a good writer, a better friend, a light in a dark place. He wants those things.  

It’s me who’s holding all that stuff back. I make other choices.

I talk instead of write. 

Where are you in all of this?

Have you just been talking a lot, whining, dreaming? Maybe it’s time to put your feet to those dreams and see how God will bless you.

I believe with my whole heart that we can live full and abundant lives, and the only reason we don’t is solely on our own shoulders.


“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hand to rest–and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”  Proverbs 6:10,11

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Becky Pirtle
Becky Pirtle
11 years ago

Oh, Mary Beth, this is too strange. John Sharp’s sermon today was on this very subject, and he used the exact same scripture!

Karen Vandervelde
Karen Vandervelde
11 years ago

Love this! Someone told me recently that do you ever notice that your kids tend to behave a lot more like you as a parent behave instead of how you tell them to behave or act? Not sure if I said that as clearly as the wise person that said it to me… I’m clearly in line with what you’re saying. Quit talking and start acting. I need to lead my kids by example. Maybe they’ll quit complaining as much when I do:)


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