Filling the gap

One of the hardest hurdles I’ve ever had to jump has been figuring out what God wants me to do with my life. This might sound strange, as I’ve told people I’ve wanted to be a writer for about as long as I can remember, but it’s one thing to say you want to be a writer, and another to know what you want to or should write. Compound this with the varying attitudes towards art that one bumps into, either within the church or as a Christian artist outside of it, and you can start to see why I’ve faced complications.

This is why in the past few months, as I’ve battled through my understanding (or misunderstanding) of the character of God, fought myself, and fought the enemy, I’ve been so incredibly pleased to find myself coming to a new revelation of freedom and a new resurgence of passion in regards to the very thing I’ve almost always wanted to do: write science fiction and fantasy stories.

For me the problem has always been, at it’s core, fairly simple. See, it’s not always been easy for me to find people who care about the things I do with the same passion, who see the same potentials that I do, and for the longest time, I thought that was bad.

But, as God’s been showing me, it’s not.

For a long time, I found myself frustrated or hurt when others didn’t understand. I questioned the value of my work again and again, especially against the artistic successes and self assurance of my friends and colleagues. Was there something wrong with what I wanted to write about? Was there something wrong with me? Maybe if I took on other disciplines, made my work more “Christian,” maybe if I gave up more, something would change.

And some things have changed. Many of my frustrations with these challenges worked their way into my writing: woundedness, justification for retribution, judgment, bitterness, rage. Celebrating those things as justified, acting as if they’re right was, well, wrong, and that’s something that I need to and will weed out. I’ve also worked towards cracking the shell I’d made to keep God out of my work, to banish the fear that letting Him in would somehow limit me to the world of Christ-like allegory, poetry, devotionals (not that there is anything wrong with those, fyi, they’ve just never been my style).

But other things haven’t changed, and that’s where, with and through God, the freedom has come.

You see, the problem wasn’t with what I was writing–the subject matter, genre, or goal of my writing on the whole, it was how I was doing it. I had been told or perceived or misinterpreted things so many times that I had started believing a tremendous lie: that the things God had put on my heart were somehow unimportant or worse, wrong.

And that isn’t true, I was just doing them without Him because I was so afraid of this lie that I couldn’t dare let Him in. Once I did let Him in, once I opened that door, I was finally able to see how wrong I’d been. Because God does care about those things, the things that I see in science fiction or fantasy, and he does care about me. He cares about the state of Christian publishing, the state of science fiction and fantasy, the state of young adult books and comics and nerds. He cares about writers at conferences and helping others reach their goals, and he’s given me those same cares for a reason.

God is huge. Not just in the theological sense of infinity, but also in His goodness, and in the possible iterations of that goodness. This lesson has been pivotal for me.

I was told that coming back from a DTS can be jarring, that it can in fact be some of the hardest months of a person’s life (this information albeit coming mostly from those under 30). Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case for me at all. I’ll admit I still face worries, that I still have concerns, but on the whole, the transition has been incredibly easy. I think a lot of that is because I finally feel confident that I’m headed in the right direction, I finally understand that I have God’s approval, that He’s the one who gave me the very things I was afraid to give back. I’m walking in more faith, believing the same things I’d tell others, and believing God cares about the same things that I see. I see the world around me and my heart burns for it again, to see things changed, to know that there’s only one way to change it, the way He knows. I also finally know for certain what part (at least in part) I have in making those changes.

It’s awesome.

So, yeah, that’s a fairly brief update on how I’m doing, and I would love to share more about some of the whys later, but I think for now this is a big enough chunk for a brain to nom on (see what I did there?).

Thank you for reading. If you have stories about how you figured out your path or calling, I’d love to hear them below.