What I Really Wanted To Write
Can I share a secret with you? When God told me what I needed to write for my first book, First in the Family, I wasn’t all the way in. Of course, there was an initial moment of clarity and gratitude for receiving godly direction for my first big writing project — but then I only gave the idea a halfhearted attempt in execution. The truth was, I didn’t want to write what God told me to write.
I had other plans.
I wanted to write fiction for believers. Stories about teenagers in love and facing the pressures of culture while trying to pursue Christ. Later, my angsty leading teen would become the star of a series of romance novels that would bring to life how Christ pursues us more than any potential partner or spouse ever could. I had my writing plans all mapped out, down to the point in my career when I would feel comfortable pursuing my master plan.
But God didn’t give me the green light for those plans.
Instead, God told me to write from my most painful lived experiences at a time in my life when tensions were high. In order to be obedient, I knew I would have to dig up some of my darkest secrets and share some hard truths about my relationships with the people I love the most in this world.
“But God,” I asked amid my halfhearted attempt at obedience, “what about all the stories that I actually want to write? Shouldn’t we start there?”
Before I could sit still long enough to listen for God’s answer, I realized how silly I sounded negotiating with God about how to use my gifts — gifts that were purposed for His glory and not merely my desires or comfort. Then I remembered how my pastor used to say that “our calling and our comfort rarely go hand in hand,” and acceptance began to settle in. Why would I think that I would only be called to write stories that gave me warm and tingly feelings, and not the ones that put a tremble in my bones?
Here’s another hard truth: The issues we want to talk about the least are often the ones that need tending to the most.
What better place to start in your writing than connecting with your own felt needs? For those of us blessed with the gift of writing or communicating, it is important to remember that the discomfort and dark places and hard truths we confront daily also confront the readers and listeners we hold in our minds when we are praying that our words will make an impact.
Our gift equips us to bring words together that can immediately impact women facing the hurt and pain we’ve survived, bolstering their faith and pointing them toward hope. And when I put my writing in the perspective of purpose, what I really “want” to write doesn’t matter so much.
What happened after I yielded my writing plans to God’s plans completely surprised me.
When I sat down to tell those hard truths, the words flew out on the page, blessing me and tending to wounds I did not realize were still in need of being dressed. Now, I see how intentional God was in leading me to tell this story first: There were things that He needed to complete in me before I could move on to my next project. Today, I am more convinced than ever that my book — the one I only halfheartedly agreed to write — is the exact resource that I was called to bring into the world.
Of course, I still hope to get around to writing Christian fiction and pitching witty, faith-based rom-coms to big movie studios, but I have learned to be obedient to what God is calling me to write in His timing despite how intimidating or far-off it may be from my original plan. In my desire to be obedient to God’s call on my life, my prayer remains: Not my will but Yours be done.
If you enjoyed today’s blog post and have writing dreams of your own, think how encouraged you’d be if you could learn about writing and publishing directly from Felicia and her team at Leafwood Publishers in real time!
Our next intensive writing study, called Direct Access: A Writers’ Book Club, begins on October 4, 2021! We will be featuring a study of Felicia’s book, First in the Family: Biblical Truths for Cycle Breakers, which releases today!
Direct Access is a book club specifically for writers like you! It is unique in that it’s not merely a discussion about our selected book or the topic of the book but rather is a study of the strategies the author used to write the book and a behind-the-scenes look at the writing, editing and publishing process of the book from start to finish.
Click here for all the details and to sign up!
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Amen Felicia! Doing the hard things, like laying down your will for His, can be painful in the moment, but always worth it. I’m so glad to hear you were already blessed by your obedience to Him, and I know that thousands of others will be blessed by your obedience too. Be blessed and keep going!
Congratulations Felicia! I am so incredibly happy for you.