It’s not the criticism for your faith, it’s not the market, it’s not even the clashing views on what is Christian.
It’s knowing that God can and will take your writing away from you. Unless you give it to him first.
Many of you just breathed a sigh of relief, I bet. “Oh, well that’s fine, then. I’ve already given my writing to God.”
Did you? Did you really give your writing to God? Or did you just dedicate it to him? Many Christian authors say they’re writing for Jesus, using their talents to create Christian content, and that’s good. But that’s only dedicating it to God. Giving it to him is a different matter.
When a musician dedicates a song to his wife, he does it in her honor. But when he gives the song to her, he gives her full control of it. She can burn it, sell it and make a profit under her own name, put it on the fridge and never let anybody see it, change the lyrics to be more like Justin Beiber, add in a rap, turn it into an instrumental, make it into an African dance-polka, whatever she wants.
But the musician no longer has any say. Neither does the writer who gives his gift to God.
The Bad News
Maybe you think God has told you to be a writer–and you may be right. I know God has made me one.
But God also told Israel they would last forever. He told Saul to be King. He made Adam king of the Garden of Eden. Yet none of those things came to be. Why? Because they valued those things more than God.
I always thought being a Christian writer meant writing in a Godly way. Lately, God has broken me, wholly and utterly. He’s revealed that if I wasn’t a writer, I could not imagine a happy future. It’s who I am, a wordsmith and creator. So when I struggle to be a writer, my hope crumbles and I fall into extraordinary depression.
My hope is in the wrong thing. Even though it’s a God-given, God-honoring thing. If we put anything, ANYTHING before God, he will snatch it out of our hands, or at the very least, sit back and watch it shatter.
Which brings us back to the hardest thing: giving our writing to God. Completely. Letting him decide which books to write. When our careers take off. What kind of success we get.
It means giving God the authority to take your writing away entirely. To make sure you never, ever see your dreams come true. Because you’ve chosen God instead.
Can you do that?
The Good News
What happens when God’s people give away their hope? They find it.
Abraham made to sacrifice the son and legacy God promised him…and got to keep both. David allowed himself to live in squalor and terror rather than seize the kingdom…and got that kingdom. Jesus surrendered his very life…and got eternal life.
Seeing the pattern? We only keep what we give up entirely. Abraham’s hope wasn’t in Isaac, nor David’s in a throne, nor Jesus’s in his flesh. They all placed their trust in God alone.
So it is for Christian writers. If you clutch your writing, God will show you who’s really in charge. But if you can hand God your craft, utterly and completely, he will make you the writer he wants you to be.
And remember: God’s ways are infinitely better than ours. Abraham could have had one son, but he got a nation as a legacy. David could have been any old king, but he became the greatest king instead. Jesus could’ve saved his life, but now he lives forever.
You can be a writer, and even have some worldly success. But you’ll never reach your potential, never go the places God wants you to go, make the impact God wants you to make unless you first give up your writing to God.
This means more time in prayer and less building your brand on Twitter. It means learning to hear God’s voice more than your audience’s. And it means having absolutely no dreams, goals, or plans except those God gives you–and even then, letting them come about in his time, not yours.
God demands everything because he gives everything.
I cannot just dedicate my work to God. I have to give it to him. If I don’t, he may very well take it from me, rob me of success and hope until I realize he’s the only true hope I have for a fulfilling life. The gift must never surpass the giver.
Same to you. Don’t just give God glory, honor, and credit. Give him that piece of your heart you’ve kept for yourself.