Far too many times we as creative artists can find ourselves in a season of frustration, loneliness, and confusion.
We’re not sure where to start, how to finish, or if this is even our purpose.
God has called us to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and that takes many forms. For many of us here, we communicate best in the written form.
When I first started writing, my goal was to become like Beth Moore or Joyce Meyers. I wanted to write beautiful moving books that inspired people to change and to overcome the obstacles that were holding them back.
Although I did have some success, the more I pressed toward that goal, the more frustrating I became. One door would open then three would close. I kept asking God, why I wasn’t getting to the place I wanted to be.
Many of you may have the same frustrations.
You’ve tried for years to write, get published, finish a novel, yet for some reason, it’s a constant struggle.
It was during this time of frustration that I gave up. I started working for newspapers, magazines, corporate blogs, basically anyone that would pay me. I became a virtual assistant, started my own marketing business, began speaking about blogging and branding, all of which I felt absolutely unqualified to do.
What amazed me was that God placed me in a situation beyond my comfort zone then excelled it beyond my imagination.
Besides a few articles in a couple of Christian magazines, and giving my testimony only a handful of times, many of the devotions and self-help articles I wrote have never seen daylight.
In essence, God asked me to Let Go of my idea of what success looked like with writing. It was extremely hard. I remember the day after reading a particular Bible Study thinking that I could’ve written something much better. I started whining to God about it and asking why again.
I clearly felt the Holy Spirit gently speak to my heart and ask if I only wrote to and for myself, if I knew that’s what God wanted, would I do it. Would I give up my dreams and do what God wanted? Would I write for him alone?
I wished I could tell you I said yes immediately. If I had, would God have told me it was just a joke and that I passed the test and was about to move into my dreams?
Maybe, but I don’t think so.
I wasn’t able to say yes and let go and struggled with this question for a week until I decided that I could and was willing to live without a lot of things, (including my dreams), but I absolutely could not live without God. And if he was asking me to give writing up, then I would. If He wasn’t going to bless what I was writing, what would the point be anyway?
That’s the day I realized that although I’ve been gifted in writing, without the infusion of God’s power, strength, and blessings, it would never amount to a satisfying career.
I chose God and His way over something that was very dear to me and practically laid it on the altar.
That was my letting go day.
Amazingly and not long after, things began to change. I had opportunity after opportunity, but it wasn’t in the realm of Beth Moore or Joyce Meyers – what I thought I wanted to be and do.
My experiences with marketing and branding helped me to reach out to other writers who had the same difficulties as I had. Sharing information with other creatives and encouraging them is what I believe God has called me to do. Since that realization, I have made that my focus. Once I became less focused on myself and more focused on helping others, opportunities started pouring in.
So did many different writing jobs. People that I’ve never met contacted me with writing assignments. I’ve found freedom in blogging about “all things creative-writing” and it’s joyful, satisfying, & fulfilling.
Once I Let go of my ideas and embraced God’s desires for my life, I have an overabundance of creativity, a peace that abounds, and energy. I look forward to every day and sitting in front of my computer typing.
I’m finding that the ability to write fiction, poetry, and short stories are also some of the areas that God has gifted me with.
I have more joy in creating a world and characters than I ever really did in sharing about self-help. In a way, I’m still bringing encouragement, inspiration, and healing, but wrapped in a different package.
By writing fiction, I can be very transparent about some personal experiences and no one really knows that I’m writing about myself.
I can also redeem some of the past hurts vicariously, which is comforting and soul-healing.
This was my awakening to Holding On.
I wrestled for a long time with some of the ideas and stories I wanted to write. Though they were fiction, I want to be honest here, they were kind of weird, scary and out there.
How can this glorify you, God, I once asked. How is this going to affect the world around me for the better? I just didn’t get how writing this type of fiction could be a good thing.
Then, I read a novel by Lisa Wingate, then another by a secular writer, I began to realize that whether I wrote for a Christian or a nonchristian audience, that who I am, what I believe, and what I stand for, will always bleed through the words.
It could be possible that some Christian writers don’t write for other Christians but for the lost. It could be that novels can open a door for a platform for many that would never open a Bible, never attend a church, never mention Jesus in a positive way.
I think God calls some writers to be, Light in the Darkness. Maybe you’ve questioned your motives or the novel you’re working on but you have a sense of peace. The only way to move forward into a future that’s rewarding and fulfilling is to Lean on the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit.
That means starting out the day or writing time with humbling ourselves and asking for divine instruction and wisdom.
In the past three months, I’ve tried to do that very thing. I am a devote planner and detailer. I’ve never once thought of being a pantser and just writing whatever comes to mind.
But I again felt that nudging to let go of my plans, my personality, my way of doing things, and to trust God to give me the words He wanted me to write. It’s been an amazing journey and each day I can not wait to see what happens.
Maybe that’s the way life is meant to be lived, a daily hopeful expectation of the unknown.
You have a choice to hold tightly onto your ways, continue to be frustrated and unfulfilled or you can choose to let go and begin to lean on him.
One of my favorite verses of the Bible has now become my daily motto,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Today may not look like what you thought it would, but God is such a loving God that He can and will redeem all things if you let him. It can be the first day of a new journey. You can choose to let go and begin an amazing journey into the unknown. You can start where you are. My question is…
This was presented as our opening for the 2019 Southern Christian Writer’s Conference – Fall Fiction Workshop in Orange Beach, Alabama.
If you are interested in Cindy speaking to your group, please contact her for details.
Also published on Medium.