When Christian Writers Face a Creativity Crash
There’s nothing quite like getting “the Call,” is there? Suddenly, the supernatural sweeps into your world, God’s voice is crystal clear, and you finally know your life’s purpose: you are meant to write.
That realization fills you with waves of excitement and zeal. Motivation is off the charts! Nothing can stop you, right?
Chances are, you’ll be confronted with challenges that must be dealt with on spiritual, emotional, and practical levels. How you deal with rejection, failure, stress, lack of support—or lack of other resources, like time—affects how long you survive in your calling.
The Challenge of Closed Doors
How do you feel when doors that were once wide-open suddenly close? How do you react when friends and family lose interest in your work or don’t understand the importance of your so-called hobby?
- Are you worried you don’t have what it takes to write or publish your work?
- Do you struggle with anger? Frustration?
- Do your wonder what you did wrong, or worry you weren’t really called at all?
- Do you feel disappointed in God?
Lately, these questions have been thorns in my side. In March, when I started the Christian Creative Nexus, an online resource for Christian creatives, the vision was strong and God moved fast. And then, nothing.
What followed felt like a spiritual desert, and I struggled with crushing confusion and disappointment. Later, in discussions with writers on the Net, I discovered that many gifted writers struggle with the same issues.
Discouragement and doubt are threatening Christian writers. They want to deter us from achieving our God-given calling. But, God is good. he understands our weaknesses. And, through our experiences in the desert places, he teaches us valuable lessons about our life’s purpose and our relationship with him.
Victory Over Challenges
Here are some of the lessons I learned in the desert and you may be encouraged by them.
Lesson 1: Rejoice! Our gifts serve a higher purpose
Jordan Raynor writes in his book, Called to Create, “As we submit to the agenda of our Caller, we will be on the lookout for ways in which we can glorify God and love others through the things we create….”
And in his discussion on the talents, Hugh Welcher puts it this way in his book, Monday Morning Success:
“If this parable is Jesus’ instruction on what we should be doing while the Master is away, what does it mean for us? Jesus is telling us is that we have work to do here on earth while he is away. Many Christians today think that salvation is merely a bus ticket to heaven. And what they do while they wait for the bus to arrive doesn’t matter. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Jesus came to usher in the kingdom of God. He has brought you from darkness into light for a purpose. You have a role to play in the kingdom of God – here and now.”
God gives us gifts and talents to be used for our pleasure, but our pleasure and personal gain are not the end-game. God loves the world and wants to see his Kingdom manifested in it, and He chose to partner with believers to do it.
From this perspective, our written works take on more value and importance than the quest for fame, prestige, or monetary gain, as we are working with God to sow seeds that bear good, lasting fruit.
Lesson 2: God helps us overcome our weaknesses
We don’t intend to turn away from God’s will— but it happens. Emotional lows resulting from spiritual attacks, things not going as expected, or from acting in our own strength affect our focus. Giving in to hurts and fears opens the door to doubt and eventually, unbelief. However, these are the moments we must seek God. Our emotions influence our thoughts and behavior, but God enables us to stand.
We have spiritual resources. James 1:5 reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all.” Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
When we are submitted to God, our desires, goals, and mental and emotional states align with his. Not only are we fulfilled, but the peace that comes from that fellowship leaves no room for things like worry, stress, anxiety, discouragement, or the fear of failure.
Lesson 3: God never leaves us
Recently, I found comfort in Angela Sanders’ devotion, The Discovery: Exploring God’s Call on Your Life. She writes,
“As you pursue your calling, there will be times that you are keenly aware of his activity in your life and other times that you feel like you’ve lost your spiritual electricity, so to speak… It’s normal. Human beings weren’t designed to sprint indefinitely… During those times of waning emotion and energy, don’t rely on how you feel, but on what the Bible says….”
When God felt distant, I worried I’d done something wrong or doubted my calling. But Sanders’ words reminded me of two truths:
- God is with me even when I don’t feel him
- Our relationship is based on the result of the cross, not my feelings
The Lord empowers us even when our human spirit falters.
Our Trials Serve a Purpose
I’ve come to accept that time spent in desert places is part of the maturation process. The Bible says it best. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
God is on a mission and so are Christian writers. The desert places aren’t easy, but they test our hearts and our resolve, empowering us to share our God’s Good News to a broken world through the written word.
Dyane Forde (aka Delia Talent) writes short-stories, novels (Rise of the Papilion Trilogy), and some poetry. Forde appreciates the challenges that writers face in the pursuit of their craft and offers tips, insights, and support through her blogs, Christian Creative Nexus, Dropped Pebbles, and on social media.