Our church choir sings a praise song on occasion. It’s called “I Will Not Be Shaken.” It’s the kind of song to set your toes tapping and hands clapping. Maybe you know it. If not, here’s a YouTube link to another choir’s version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoxbKyCoaPM. Enjoy!
I mention this song because of the words in the chorus. As I listened to them one Sunday, my creativity sprang to life, and I saw them as a basis for a story. I began to get ideas right there in the pew. Does that ever happen to you? Frankly, I don’t care for those moments that interfere with my worship time, so I highlighted the words in my bulletin, something I normally throw away, and brought them home with me to ponder later.
If there is one thing we can blame on this writing gig, it’s that it shakes our faith on occasion. No, I’m not referring to our faith in Christ. Hopefully, that’s solid in anyone who writes for Him. I’m writing of our faith in our abilities.
How often have you entered a writing contest, received your feedback, and wanted to curl up on the bed with your thumb in your mouth? (Okay, for writers, it’s a chocolate bar—for me, a Three Musketeers.) Maybe you’ve received rejection after rejection for a story you’ve poured your heart into, one you believed God whispered in your ear as you took dictation. Perhaps, you’ve received rave reviews, but the book isn’t selling as well as others in the same Amazon category. Do you ever wonder why you bother to open the computer in the morning?
Writing is a tough on the self-esteem. We have a tendency to think that, because God gave us the desire to write stories and we spent months (sometimes years) practicing the craft and sweating over each sentence, we’re automatically entitled to hit the ECPA bestseller list. When we don’t, we can sink into discouragement.
Throughout the years, I’ve returned over and over to Isaiah 55:8 when I need a reminder of WHO God is and who I am in relation to Him.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
Whew! What a powerful statement—and a humbling one. In my mind, those words go hand-in-hand with Jeremiah 29:11. If both are not a call to trust Him, even when we don’t understand why our plans are “unsuccessful,” I don’t know what it will take.
It can be hard to accept that His will for our writing may be as simple as teaching us something about ourselves through the experiences of fictional characters. I know I’ve grown in my faith through writing about the journeys of my invisible friends. As my hero, Kit Barnes, learns: Be Strong! Be strong in the power of God’s might. Be strong and stand.
He has a plan for each of us in our writing career. Yours will be different from mine. Whatever it is, it’s right for you. Whatever mine is, it’s right for me.
So when you doubt your ability to create, STAND. Stand firm in your trust of His plan. Stand firm in the knowledge that God has placed the desire to write in you for a reason, even if those words never reach anyone but you.
Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction who writes inspirational historical romance, such as her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel and her January release, A Reluctant Melody. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.