Recently my church was doing a study on Tim Keller’s book Every Good Endeavor. The book is about work and how a Christian should view their profession. I was asked to speak in the adult education class about being an author and how I handled the idols in my work.
Idols? Does a writer have idols? After I thought about the publishing industry and how it has changed in the past twelve years since I began writing, I did discover some idols. When I began my publishing journey, there was no internet sales or social media. The rise of Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and a whole host of new inventions have brought some “watch outs” into the writing life.
I am a Christian and a child of God. What is a child of God? John 1:12 puts it this way:
“Yet to all who received him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (NIV)
Since I believe in Jesus, I write my stories from a Christian worldview. I hope people like my stories, feel better after reading my stories, and in the case of my Biblical fiction, learn something new about God and the Bible. When people praise my novels or think I am somehow on a higher plane since I write novels, I have to set my idol warning to high.
I believe God has given me the talent to write stories. It’s a gift. Just like some people have gifts of singing and painting and business and athletics. The list is endless. One gift is not better than the other in God’s eyes. When readers say nice things about me, I thank them, enjoy the moment, but see their praise in the bigger picture of God’s gifts. God wouldn’t be please with diva moments.
I Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in various forms.”
I pray that I am administering well, but people have different ideas about what “well” means. I have heard from readers who weren’t impressed with my stories. Sometimes the review of my work overflows onto my being. My relationship with God is attacked and less than nice things are said. Ouch! When that happens (and it can be in a book review or through e-mail), I have to remember who I am in Christ. I remember the John 1:12 verse above and realize that I am a child of God. No two Christians are the same and not every piece of art is for every reader or for every patron of the arts.
The idols of doubt and discouragement can sink into my core if I let them. Social media allows words to soar through the internet without the typist realizing there is a beating heart on the other side of the screen. If I’m okay with my story, and I believe God is okay with my story, then I have to let a bad review sink into oblivion.
So, are there idols in writing? Are there incidents that can take our eyes off of God? Definitely.
Enjoy the good times of your profession but keep walking in humility. Ask God to help you when a discouraging remark zaps your enthusiasm. The Holy Spirit is the best comforter when we are hurting. And remember, the giver of good gifts does not make mistakes.
Do you see any idols creeping into your work?
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb brings little-known Bible stories to light in her Tribes of Israel series. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. She is published by Harbourlight Books an imprint of Pelican Book Group. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb and her books at www.barbarambritton.com.