I was sailing smoothly across the seas of retirement. I had dusted off a few of the journals that I had written, and knew exactly what the next phase of my life would entail: writing.
I wondered if the writing I had been doing privately over the years was any good. I joined an on-line Christian website to find out. The responses were encouraging, but I wanted something more personal. I looked around my community but found nothing. So, I started my own Christian writing group right in my own community. The waters of life were still flowing smoothly.
During the third or fourth meeting, the smooth waters began to ripple uncomfortably. One woman had shared her very engaging writing sample. The response violated protocol. Instead of identifying the strengths and areas of weakness, we found ourselves challenging her theology.
The process agitated some group members, which created a storm for me because I allowed things to get out of hand; I realized that I had embarked on a journey without establishing clear guidelines about my responsibilities as a Christian writer. I had set sail without doing what every navigator should do before leaving port: know the route, check the waters, and inspect the navigation tools.
If I wanted to know how to get to the point of integrating faith and writing, I should have asked somebody. I didn’t know how to get to where I wanted to go.
God says, “Seek and you shall find.” I prayed for guidance and wisdom, and came across some phenomenal resources. I was not the first one to wonder about how to integrate faith and art.
Erwin Raphael McManus was confronted by the same issue and wrote a book entitled The Artisan Soul, explaining his findings. Whatever he said about art applied to my writing. From that book, I have learned that Christian writing should project courage, hope, faith and love, grace and truth. In so doing, I am reflecting the essence of who Christ is and elevating the human spirit at the same time. The writing group should be a laboratory to promote the same.
I knew that in life, we are either in a storm or just getting out of one. We just have to be ready for either scenario, so we’re either praising God for victory or we’re asking, “Carest thou not that we perish?” Storms vary with intensity, but they all have the capacity to throw us off of the path to our destination, either threatening our bodies or our dreams.
We may lose our way, sink, or flounder; but if we are on speaking terms with the anchor of our souls, He can always put us back on track. We have to learn to anchor down. The Creator of the universe is in control. Let Him do what He does best. In quietness, He leads us out of the storms of life or provides the strength we need to withstand the winds.
He led me to a book that continues to open up a whole new way of thinking regarding the Christian writing life and how I should pursue it.
I have since left behind me the storm that sent me searching for answers, and I have come to cherish the navigation tools for Christian writing to which the storm has led me and continues to guide my writing every day.
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