I debated a LOT about whether or not I should share this. I know not everyone is gonna feel the same way I do about this subject. For that reason, I've put off posting it, and in fact I wasn't planning to post it at all . . . yet, the subject has still be heavy on my heart. After praying about it off and on for several months, I've decided to go ahead and post it. So I hope you are encouraged a bit, even if perhaps you don't agree with everything I've said.
This question has been on my mind a lot the past few weeks. I pour so much time into writing, but why?
Why is this so important to me?
Why do I live and breath words?
Why will I work so hard to make time for writing?
But above all . . . just who am I writing for?
It's easy to lose track of the all-important answer to the this question. It can be so easy to say "I write because I enjoy it", or "because I'm passionate about this certain subject."
And while those are good reasons, I don't believe they are good enough. As Christians, we are called to bring God's light into this world.
Spending so much time simply for pleasure just doesn't seem right. Do we write only to entertain? This is not a worthwhile goal.
When I first sketched out the outline for A Question of Honor, I wasn't thinking about God at all. And I say this to my shame. I wasn't thinking about how I could bring others closer to Him, or perhaps encourage people in their walk with God.
No, I was thinking about whether or not it was something other people would enjoy. Would a friend enjoy it? What would my sister think? Could I make the characters believable?
I did try to think of a "theme" I wanted for the book, but that doesn't really amount to anything. Even secular books have a theme or agenda their trying to get across. To put it bluntly, I was writing this book for myself. And for other people.
But when I started writing A Question of Honor something wonderful happened. Instead of following what I had wanted to do, the book took on a whole different form. God decided what I had planned wasn't enough.
I learned so much through writing it. Not only in a historical sense, but through what God taught me as I was writing. This book was the only project I've undertaken where I was constantly going back to the Bible for one thing or another. Instead of using all the research books I had gotten, (Though I did still use them a bit ;)) I was using the Bible as my primary tool. When I finished, it was completely different than what I had envisioned. And to be honest, instead of wanting people to read it and looking forward to seeing what they thought, I didn't want anyone to see it.
Why? Because I had learned so much and grown closer to the Lord while writing it. I had studied the Bible to find out exactly what God said about certain matters, and I had learned things I had never known before. And my characters learned with me.
It was almost as though it was my personal story of what I had learned in my walk with the Lord during this time, only told through characters in a different era.
When I re-read it I realized that somehow through the course of the time it took me to write it, my goal in writing it had changed. I wasn't writing something I thought other people would like.
I was writing something I hoped would encourage people in their walk with the Lord. I was writing something I hoped might make unbelievers question their unbelief.
I was writing for Christ, not myself.
And friends, that is so important. As christian writers, our primary goal should not be to entertain.
Now, I'm not saying it's bad to entertain. I know that personally I learn a lot more when the truths the author is working on getting across are woven throughout a well-told story.
Yet, the primary purpose as a Christian in the world is to be a light and witness for Christ. And as we write, the words we use should shine light across even the darkest places. This world is growing darker. God has given us the gift of using words to communicate truths to others.
But this can only be used for God's glory when we are writing for Him.