A Creative Spirit is a blessing from Heaven. (Really, it is.)
Although, I will be the first to admit, that there are days when it feels like a curse.
Walking around this tattered planet with so many words, visions, characters, and lands, locked up inside your belly can make you feel like an over-due pregnant lady. The only problem, is that you've been pregnant for years. The visions that you've seen in your heart, and the characters that you've chatted with over tea in your brain, are so vividly real to you.
At first, the idea of writing a novel is exciting and whimsical. Words rush out of your soul like a waterfall, tumbling onto the pages, and you're ecstatic to release what you've been dreaming of for so long! The first twenty-five or fifty pages are like bliss.
This is going to be a best-seller! You squeal to nobody but yourself, This world needs my story! This is the most brilliant idea since Pride and Prejudice! If only Jane Austin could see me now! She would be so proud!
But then, the hardships hit. Everything freezes up, your brain is in a total fog, and you feel like jumping ship. "This is the worst idea ever!" You scream, ready to throw your story through the paper-shredder. "How could I possibly be any LESS original than this?! I stink! I am never going to be a successful writer!"
We've all been there. The inner critics raise their voices, and spew their ugly words into your mind. The nasty mud-slingers try to make you think that your story is a complete waste of time. You can't write, you'll never be good enough, nobody cares what you have to say...
Lies. Lies. Lies.
Over the past year, God has taken me on a journey. A journey that took me from a muddy pit of lies, and into the glorious freedom of the liberty of Christ. He has freed me, and He has freed my pen!
At the beginning of the year, I used to believe that writing fictional tales was like building castles in the sand. What was the point in spending so much time laboring over something that could be swept away in a matter of seconds? I didn't believe that anyone would care what I had to say through my stories. Why would they? There are far greater writers out there. Surely my works would never compare to the bestseller classics.
But then one day, the Lord whispered words of encouragement in the innermost chambers of my soul, and that changed everything. I share these words with you, because I believe they will encourage you as well. Whether you're a writing struggling to believe that your pen will change the world, an artist who still plays in coffee shops and dreams of her big break, or a frustrated college student trying to pursue her dreams.
I want to remind you that you were created for a most amazing and unique purpose. Your uniqueness isn't something to be concerned about. It is something to whole-heartedly embrace.
Can you hear the Lord whispering these words to your soul?
"Why do you look at the gifts that I've given you, and think that they're not enough? You glance at the fish and loaves in your hands and think, That will never be enough to feed them all. I must do more. I must be more. Oh but don't you see the beauty of what I've placed inside you?!
Small, you may think. But in my eyes, small is glorious. Everything that means anything, once came from a tiny seed. The Kingdom is like a mustard seed, and I have lovingly and thoughtfully planted those seeds inside of you. Look at what is in your hand. You think it is average. Normal. Non-spectacular, and certainly not anything special. But you are wrong!
The reason that your gift feels so average and normal to you, is because it is your gift. Others are in awe, but I have hidden your eyes to see that. The thing that comes so naturally to you, is something that others struggle with. Your gift is unique to you, and there is a reason why I gave it to you, and you alone! This world needs your unique gift. Don't sqwander your gift.
Be faithful in the little, and I will be faithful to multiply, expand it, and use it to feed the nations. I will place my SUPER on top of your natural, and it will become supernatural. Trust me! Is anything too hard for the Lord Almighty? Is anything too challenging for the God who breathed out the stars? Use what is in your hands, and I will do the rest!"
Simple as these words may sound, everything changes when the Lord speaks! His Words of faith and encouragement gave me the courage to pick up my pen once more, and fashion fictional words. I knew that they could quite possibly, tumble and fall to the ground. BUT I ignored the lies, fought through the doubt, and continued to write. The Lord sustained me. He filled me with HIS Words, and brought something eternal and priceless out of something that used to feel so shallow and pointless.
You see, I enjoy writing. A lot. Whenever I flip open my laptop and open a fresh Word document, an excitement stirs in my spirit. I used to believe that fictional writing was far less "important" than the non-fiction devotional style. An oppressive spirit of religion caused me to believe that if I "enjoyed" doing something, it must not be as important as the more "selfless, spiritual tasks" I could be doing.
Ha! That couldn't be further from the truth! Sister, allow me to let you in on a little secret.If you truly enjoy something. I mean, your heart starts beating faster, your voice quickens with excitement, and you leap out of bed in the morning because you can't wait to start on that particular activity: that is a HUGE hint as to what your unique giftings are! You should enjoy the assignments that the Lord gives you! If they're feeling like a lifeless drudgery, then perhaps something is off. Don't allow the spirit of religion to suck the life out of you!
It's completely okay for you to enjoy whatever it is that makes you tick! Be it writing, singing, acting, dancing, crunching numbers, or caring for orphans. Your passions and desires can actually serve as road-maps as to help you find what God wants you to do with your life! Isn't that deliriously exciting?!
I've recently finished a brand new novel called The Coronation. It is my first full blown work of fiction. Unlike Secrets of Royalty, it doesn't have a 31 day devotional attached to the end. The story is simply that, a story.
I used to believe that simple story wasn't enough. "How can a story change the world?" I asked, "How is a story going to change lives, and spread the Gospel, and feed orphans, and end human trafficking?"
It's a mystery to me. My human mind cannot seem to grasp how God can take my messy words, and use them to change the course of history. I don't understand how a basket of smelly fish and fresh baked bread, can feed thousands. But it does. And it will! All I have to do is TRUST my Maker! He knows what He is doing! He is in charge of making the miracle happen, not me! All I have to do is give Him what I have, and He will be faithful to do the rest.
Sister, remember that story is never just a story.
Your gift isn't just "that thing that you do."
It has the potential to feed and touch thousands with the truth.
The Lord has shown me that The Coronation is far more than a story. It's more than an exciting, 260 page adventure that was dreamed up in my little mind. Beneath it all, it is an example of God's faithfulness in my life, and a prophetic collection of so many things He has taught me this year! Is is a monument to His goodness, and a humble offering of fresh fish and loaves that He can do whatever He pleases with. I'm excited to share more with you about The Coronation in 2017, but that's not the purpose of this post.
The purpose of this post, is to say this:
If I can do it, you can do it. If the Lord can use me,and fashion something beautiful out of all my doubts, imperfections, and the terribly messy year that 2016 was, He can do the same in your life! All you have to do is trust Him! Trust Him with your gift. Trust Him with your story. Pick up the pen, and write each day. Don't put your guitar in the closet. Don't give up on your blogging business. Don't place your dreams on the shelf. Take daily, determined, faith filled action steps to make the most of what God has given you, and enjoy the journey that Jesus wants to take you on!
(To read more about this crazy writing process, and what the Lord has been doing with my book projects, check out an interview that I did over at Jessica Martin's blog!)
I am in awe of everything the Lord has taught me through this process. Life is our classroom, and Jesus is our teacher.
And may we, through every high and every low, purpose to keep seeking Him for all of our days. I know that for me, His classroom of learning is always going to be in session.
May we never, ever graduate from His school of love. <3