At last, we come to the end of these ramblings. If you’re still with me, thank you. I ask you to bear with me for one more post on this stuff, and then I will fall silent for a while as you give me feedback.
Yesterday, I outlined the main content issues I think other Christians will have with my work. I think it’s fair to say that I really do want to get back to writing, even if it’s only a hobby and I put it in the same place in my schedule as knitting, sewing, or reading (which is to say, pretty far down the To Do list). But I don’t think I can write—I don’t think I can create—until I hash out some of the questions I have about the content of my work.
There are other issues, too. I recall being called on the carpet for having “impure motives,” essentially—for pursuing my writing goals for reasons other than bringing glory to God. I could never quite wrap my head around the accuser’s issue, to be candid. When I worked full time in an office, I never thought, “I’m typing for the glory of Jesus.” Perhaps I should have? I don’t know. But somehow, this person thought that simply pursuing a career because it was an enjoyable pursuit was wrong.
Hear me on this: I do not disagree with the idea that everything we do should be done as if working for the Lord. I suppose I just don’t see it as quite such a well-defined thing as this particular person thought it should be. When asked my “motives,” I didn’t automatically answer, “to glorify God.” That seemed to be the crux of the matter. If I had, would that person have had no objection to the content? I doubt it. I can give Sunday school answers if that’s what’s expected, but I don’t like to give them unless they’re honest.
So, all that said . . . here are my questions:
If the content is inappropriate, but I don’t feel convicted of wrongdoing, how do I know how to edit myself?
If the content is acceptable, but a brother or sister chastises me, how do I respond?
Can we, as believers who know the truth as God has revealed it in His Word, acknowledge through art (in this case, fictional short stories and/or novels) that those who do not believe as we do will not act the way we believe they should?
Is my quest to reveal truth through the practices of believable characters in a reality that may not look exactly like earth’s reality (hint: there may be fairies or talking dragons or magic or strange gods) a worthwhile one?
What is the proper balance between the responsibility I have to my audience, whether Christian or secular, to accurately portray the practical reality (i.e., what people do in practice on a daily basis) of human life and to protect their eyes and hearts and minds from said reality?
Am I obligated to God to share my work with others, believers and non-believers alike?
I think it’s fair to say that once I explore the answers to those questions, I will have to then consider how to apply what answers I come up with.
In the meantime, there is another issue immediately at hand–namely, the issue of how desperately I want to write again.
Here’s some truth that splashes buckets of cold water on my desires: I don’t have time to even keep up with my daily obligations, much less find time to write. I am drowning in American Heritage Girls responsibilities, not gaining even the slightest bit of traction on putting my house back together after years of neglect, and still attempting to do all of the churchy things I’m supposed to do. It’s not the daily time with God I’m talking about here–it’s all of the other stuff–the Bible study, the homework from said Bible study, the church attendance, etc. There are other volunteer duties, too (because apparently, I enjoy taking on extra stuff that I don’t have time for). And then there’s just the general, all-encompassing title of Mother of Four. Plus, Mr. P does like to talk to me occasionally.
So, suffice to say, I certainly have no time at all to indulge in my chosen art. And should I decide to spend precious free time writing (instead of knitting or sewing), there’s a part of me that always feels a bit guilty. You see, writing without intent to publish feels unbelievably indulgent–akin to buying designer purses or having pedicures in the Pacific Northwest in winter (no one sees them). At least knitting or sewing feels productive and useful. If I don’t ever share my writing, then I feel like it’s a rather pointless indulgence. All it does is make me feel happy–which, while lovely, seems rather useless considering the length of my To Do list.
So perhaps there are a couple more questions that I should add to my list:
Can I justify indulging in my writing if I never intend to share it?
If I indulge in my writing, do I have any obligation to share my work?
And on an even more personal note,
If I share my work, how much and what kind of criticism, chiding, and Christian correction am I obligated to integrate into my work?
I am not anywhere near sharing my work again. I still have visceral, painful, anxiety-ridden reactions to even the suggestion or thought of sharing my writing in anything other than a blog post. I have been honest on this particular blog because it’s therapy, but that’s not anywhere near being honest through my works of fiction. And truthfully, I’m more honest in my works of fiction than I am anywhere else—you just have to know how to read the fiction.
So there it all is. Four very long, very rambling posts that expose far more of my heart and thoughts than you all probably expected. I would not have opened myself up like this if I did not expect chastisement or reprimand. So, let me have it. Perhaps the Spirit will use you to convict me of something—I don’t know.
In the meantime, if you’re still reading, I thank you for sticking with me this far.
Till next we meet . . .