Step Seven – Humbly ask God to remove all our shortcomings as writers, allowing Him to cleanse us of our worldly desires.
Are we humble? Are we humble enough as writers to develop a truly deep relationship with God? We know our shortcomings as writers both professionally and personally. Do we have enough love and faith to really give our writing over to Him?
Believe it or not, we fail this step by not being kind. We, who are kind to everybody else, are most unkind to ourselves. Often we envision a God who created us with numerous faults and unholy tendencies. We think that our life’s work is to overcome our inclinations and failings. This attitude spills over into our writing. We are harsh on our creations. We strive for perfection and delay sharing our work because we question its value. That is because we want control, perfection and acclaim. Our work becomes a burden instead of a pleasure. It can become a curse instead of a gift. Why are we so unkind to ourselves? Why are we always judging ourselves and our work harshly?
On one hand we are influenced by the success of secular writers; we may even compromise our message to gain that financial success. We allow ourselves to change or soften our message of Christ’s love to make our writing more mainstream or palatable. Then to top it off we carry the guilt of compromise and again judge ourselves.
On the other hand, we can swing the other way, thinking our work should be preachy. We are harsh on the characters we create who aren’t saints. Not quite as hard as we are to ourselves. We promote the idea that those who follow Christ must struggle constantly against their nature, the world and the evil one. Our characters must be perfect. This is a reflection of our own need to be perfect. Both these approaches in our work are wrong.
“How can we expect charity toward others when we are uncharitable to ourselves?”- Sir Thomas Brown
How can we be kind to ourselves? By letting go and not trying to control everything we write and create. Give the creation and control of the story to Him who is the entire story.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”- John 1:1
When you decide what to write is it something you thought of? Or is it an inspiration from Him?
When you develop your characters, do you allow Him to flood your mind with the people He wants your readers to know? One sign that you are in control is if they are too perfect or too flawed. God creates complex people and characters. He likes the unique and imperfect.
When you create your plot, is it action packed to catch the eye of a producer or filmmaker? Is it the plot that He gave you? Did you even ask?
I have done both! And believe me; He is better at developing plots, characters and ideas than I am. The work is always better when He writes it.
Turning our work over to Him is initially difficult. In the end it is easy and freeing. Go into prayer. Find that place to be with Him each day. Pray before you sleep each night for inspiration for the next day. What peace this will bring to your work.
This takes care of the writing, but what about the writer? Can you give yourself to Him?
“Love is above all, the gift of oneself” – Jean Anouilh
We are not perfect. We have many faults. Let’s turn ourselves over and stop trying to correct ourselves first. That is pride – the first sin. We can’t change ourselves. Only He can change us. When we learn that we have imperfect ways such as jealously, greed, the need for recognition or selfishness, let’s be kind to ourselves. We’re only human. He is God. Turn your writing and yourself with all the imperfections over to Him. Have a sense of humor about it. I like to tell Him that He made me, he can make me better. Next, let’s work on Step Eight! It will blow your mind!
Karen Kelly Boyce is a mother of two and grandmother of two who lives on a farm in N.J. with her retired husband. She and her husband love to camp and take ‘road trips’ around the country. She has published four novels and three children’s books. Her website is www.karenkellyboyce.com