How to Honor God by Putting Him First
How to put God first in my writing has been on my mind a lot lately. So much in fact that I’ve been praying about my novels in a way that I just haven’t before. Honestly, I never thought God cared much about my writing to begin with. These were just fun little stories, right? They didn’t reflect real people or real things? For elves' sake, I’m writing about Vampires and werewolves. WHO THE HECK CARES?
Well, as I started praying the Lord revealed that He kind of does care. You know why? Because I care. I care about being a novelist so much that I’ve arranged everything in my life to be one. He knows how much I love this and God loves me enough to love it too. Does that mean He loves everything I’m writing about? Well, no. Not at all.
Here are some questions that came to me while I was praying:
- Do I want this novel to be my introduction to the world?
- If I were famous for this one novel, what would I be teaching the people that read it?
- Am I glorifying things that are pretty sucky like abusive relationships, drug addiction, etc?
- If a pastor, my parents, my family, in general, read this, would I feel guilty about anything?
- Am I going against anything really important in the Bible?
As you can see, these are some pretty subjective questions.
My answers are not your answers.
My walk with the Lord is not your walk.
My call to action is not your call to action.
And that’s exciting! Where I’m limited, you might be free! And where I’m free, you might be limited. It’s why books have diversity and freedom and passion. It’s because no writer is bound by the same rule (Either Christian or Non-Christian)!
So how do you put God first in your writing? Let’s see.
Pray about your novel
Have you ever had a real prayer session about your writing life? About your novels? About what goes in and goes out of them?
Look, I just started this journey so I’m not an expert in the least. But I do know that God wants to have a good handle on all areas of your life.
Does He have a good handle on all areas of my life?
MIND YOUR BUSINESS COLLEEN OKAY? THIS ISN’T ABOUT ME. *Sticks tongue out*
The point is, prayer is such a powerful tool that benefits every single area of your life. Your writing is no different.
Make Sure You’re Not Glorifying Bad Things
There are so many stories now that are aimed at young girls and teens. They’re full of sex, toxic relationships, and the romanticizing of depression, anxiety, and OCD. Sex is this really amazing thing. It’s fun. It’s wild. AND IT’S NOT FOR CHILDREN.
The fact that people are writing about sixteen-year-old kids getting in on every chapter of the book is a little weird. And I’m not saying that there won’t ever be sex in my YA books, but it won’t be this pornographic best-sex-of-your-life, earth-shattering yadda yadda you get it.
Also toxic relationships? And mental health issues like depression and anxiety being flaunted like it’s something exciting?
Nah. It sucks. Loving someone who hurts you sucks. It’s not a fun thing to overcome. And having depression SUCKS. Big time.
Well, Kate, what about realistic portrayals?
Well, I’m glad you asked, Sam.
There’s a lot of power in books. It opens us up to a new way of thinking and a world we wouldn’t experience otherwise. That being said… just walk the line very carefully. PRAY about what you’re writing about. The world is horrible enough and I don’t want my books to remind people about it in every single chapter. If I wanted that, I could just tell my readers to watch the news.
Listen to What God is telling you about your Novels
When you put God first in your writing, He’s going to ask you to do some pretty outrageous stuff. Case in point, I have an urban fantasy novel. It’s magical, got some witches, has kind of a toxic relationship and it’s AWESOME.
But I was feeling a little uneasy about certain things in it. I was concerned about what mark I would be leaving if it were published. How the world would view me? If any pastors would suddenly show up in my DMs asking how a nice little girl like me got lost in the mix.
One, I would answer them that I was never that nice to begin with. And two, the impression would have been fine. But not very Christian like in my mind.
So I prayed. I asked God softly, without words, and without making a single sound, “What should I do?” Well, He answered.
And Guess who listened?
NOT ME. Nooooo I shoved that little word of God down so deep, continued on with my novel, and finished it.
Then it started bugging me more and more. What should I take out? Something needs to go, what is it? What is it, why can’t I let this go?
Well, let the sinking feeling begin. The ice in your chest. The pummeling feeling of rock tumbling around in your heart from not listening to God to having to give something up for God, and the general feeling of “Why can’t I do whatever the hell I want to do?!?”
“Give up the magic,” God said.
I looked up, “Sorry, God, I don’t think I heard you right. I write Urban Fantasy. Give up the what?”
“Give up the magic.”
Oh balls. Tears started pouring out of my face. I started weeping for this beautiful story I had written that was going to suck now because it couldn’t have magic.
I’m a little proud this little tantrum only lasted a few hours. Then I was like “Fine God, but it better not suck.”
(Yeah don’t talk to God like that, He probably doesn’t like it too much.)
So there I am googling how to make a non-magic system. Did not go well. All I found were magic systems. Then I was like fine, let’s make it aliens.
An alien vampire, really?
But then I started thinking about it more. Aliens. Alien goo in the earth created the three branches of monster. Affected human cells, created new organelles, and achieved this monster-like being.
It ain’t Shakespeare but it’ll do.
Now, my story is actually pretty awesome. It’s got more depth. It’s got this more unique non-magic system than before. It’s generally just better… trust me, I’m not doing a good job of explaining it, but it’s better.
And I think that’s the promise God has for us.
He’s not going to tell us to give something up, make a change, or do something we don’t want, without giving us something better in return.
My dreams for myself are not God’s dreams for me. He’s got something more amazing planned.
Truth is when I heard God tell me to lose the magic, I was in my car. Tears streaming. A hopeless feeling in my gut.
Then my music started playing and the only lyrics I heard were
“It felt like a burden, but once I could grasp it, He took me further than I could imagine.”
(Lyrics: Spirit Lead Me - Michael Ketterer and Influence Music)
PS. I had listened to that song at least 30 times and never once did I hear that line. But that’s how God works, who am I to question?
So here’s the promise when you put God first in your writing.
God isn’t going to ask you to give anything up that’s not for the best. He’s going to lead you to a beautiful future. He’s going to take you further than you ever imagined.
God made that promise to me a few weeks ago and all it’s done is make my writing ten times better. He’s going to do the same for you.
Aight, stay saucy.