Books are windows to the soul
A book is a first hand look into the soul of its author. As an author, the writings in your books confirm you. They tell your readers, who you are and what you stand for. They let the world know your voice, before they may ever have the chance to meet you in person.
As an aspiring author, I recently experienced this reality for myself as I traveled to visit with family for the holidays on my United Airlines flight from Denver to Birmingham. During my flight, I found myself engaged in conversation with the passenger sitting next to me. Something I typically try to avoid doing. I’m a little introverted plus I was exhausted so don’t judge me. From this conversation, I learned that he is also a writer or better yet a published author of several books. Despite the fact that he writes from a night and day different genre than I, after just a few exchanges about our varied writing styles, and journey I allowed him to be an as we say in the military training world, a “just in time” beta reader of the book I’m currently still writing.
Yes, you read right, I allowed a stranger to read the first few pages of the manuscript that I have been working on for the past year. To my surprise, great feedback was received, and the most profound of it was the question that he asked me: “are you a preacher?” Stunned by his observation, and despite our prior dialogue of what we both actually do for a living, I felt confirmed by such a bold statement and question that my writing invoked in a first time reader. I humbly stated, I’m simply a believer and follower of Christ and as such I’m called to use my gifts to share my faith in ministry to others.
Books are their author’s legacy
Impressed by my writing and honesty about my calling to write, the passenger encouraged me to keep up the writing and to let go of my fears of sharing my writing through publishing and even reciting my poetry. His final words were, “you gotta let go of that fear young lady” and “your writing will outlive you.” Which is true. So many places in scripture we can read about the importance of writing. When you are called to write, it’s not so that the writer can profit and get rich and famous. It’s so that you can leave a legacy of truths and lessons learned about how to live this life on earth for the next generations to come.
In Habakkuk 2:2 the prophet was instructed by God to “Write the vision. Make it clear on tablets so that anyone can read it quickly.” In the new testament, the apostle John states the purpose of the written gospels that he authored is so that others may believe. I love so much about his statement of purpose for why he writes. Talk about leaving a legacy! He eye-witnessed Christ’s life on earth and wrote about it so that we can read and learn about it, so that we can believe as well.
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”(John 20:30-31).
Books are proof of their author’s calling
Thinking more about the encounter during my holiday travels, I can’t help but reflect back on this past Sunday’s sermon during my visit at the Potter’s House Denver. It was a study of Job 1:7-12; 14 – 22 and the importance of knowing and understanding the role that you play in God’s overall plan for your life. God tests who He can trust, and that there is a proofing process involved in that testing. In this passage of scripture, God has a conversation with Satan about Job. Satan wanted to get his hands on him and everything attached to him that God had given him. But what invoked that conversation was the fact that God asked Satan what he was doing, in which Satam replied that he was looking to and fro across the earth for someone to destroy. God volunteers Job, but why? Because He knew Jobs heart and that he could prove to Satan that Job was His servant. God let Job’s material possessions come under attack by Satan to prove that Job no doubt belonged to God.
How this ties into my encounter on my trip, is that my unfinished work was used to prove who God has called me to be and what He has called me to do. As fearful as I have been for the past ten years to share any of the writing ideas God had placed on my heart, this encounter proved that what I write is worth reading and that I’m truly called by God to write.
Not that I’ve never published any writings ever, because I have, only on a smaller scale. Such as a simple blog post here and there, a freelance article or two, but publishing actual books, never. Plus the topics were usually rather superficial, health and fitness related, but rarely personal or faith based.
So to be considered by God to not just write books on whatever’s popular or suits my comfort zone, but to write books on some of the deeper things of my relationship and walk with God means a lot. To be entrusted to write about topics that expose the depth of my personal struggles and triumphs experienced during my relationship journey with Him is honestly an honor.
Now unlike Job, in my case I wasn’t being outright attacked during my encounter and discussion with the passenger about my writing, however to share my genre of writing with a person who writes essentially along the lines of noir and romance, it opened up a dialogue to be able to share my faith and proved who I write for. I don’t just write Christian non-fiction and spiritual growth poetry, blogs, and soon books and devotionals for other believers, but I also write them for those who may not yet believe or those who believe, but are struggling in their faith journey in some way.
Furthermore, I write what I write because I lived it and still live it. It’s who I am. In Job 1, Job was chosen for the test because God wanted to prove to Satan that Job could be trusted to be faithful in spite of the material wealth God had blessed him with. During that test, Job knew his role, had memorized the script, and stayed in character even when everything else around him, or in our day, the culture, said he should curse God. To Job, it didn’t matter what was taken away from him, as he still knew that he belonged to God and he continued to worship in the midst of the calamity. So instead of having fear of being judged for what I write about, I rejoice because I know it is what I am chosen to do.
Until Next Time… Write from the Heart