When I was in middle school and high school, I was in love with Karen Kingsbury books. I always had my nose in one, and her writing greatly shaped my own. One thing I admire in her writing is the clear gospel message she puts into her stories. But I didn’t always appreciate this.
As a teenager, I highly doubted that Christian fiction could change lives. Why would anyone respond to a made-up character encountering God? I’d heard lots of personal testimonies that had touched my heart, but reading about it just didn’t feel the same.
My heart has of course changed. It changed when I began writing Christian fiction myself. The other day a reader emailed me and asked me some questions about my book—he asked me if my characters were based off of real people. They aren’t, although I will say that as I stepped into Molly’s world and imagined how I would react to what she goes through, I put in many of the thoughts and emotions I think I would have had. There is a little bit of me in Molly. Because of this, I truly believe that Molly’s encounters with God are more believable—her encounters shadow my own. I didn’t just make all this up. Yes, it’s true that the story is fictional. But I’m writing about a real God and real experiences with him. I know Molly’s story is impacting people, because people have told me! A few young readers sent me messages thanking me for writing about real emotions, and for including a message of Jesus and sound Biblical truth into my story. God is bigger than my dreams! He took a skeptic and turned her into a believer.
With this revelation in my mind, I keep pushing forward. Which is not always easy. The other day a royalty check came in the mail. And it was tiny. When Ben, my family and I decided to go ahead and take a risk on this book, we never expected to make a ton of money. Our focus has never been on money. Still, we had a great weekend at Lifelight in September and expected to have some book sales on this check. It just didn’t end up that way, and it was a little disappointing. Ben quickly reminded me, though, that even though we didn’t sell as many copies as we might have liked, the gospel message was in a few more hands than before. We simply have to keep plugging. Keep pushing back the dark.
I don’t know what stands in your way of pushing back the dark. Fear, uncertainty, and disappointment stands in my way—perhaps those things and more stand in the way of what God is calling you to do, whatever that may be. There will always be a reason to quit, and Satan will shout those reasons at you as loud as he can. You have to make a choice of who you want to listen to—your Savior, or Satan. Jesus calls us to be a shining city on a hill, but I know personally just how hard this can be. Choosing to listen to God can be extremely difficult. But just as the song "Pushing Back the Dark" by Josh Wilson says, “Somebody needs a light you have.” God allows us to be a part of his divine work—why do we let fear get in the way of shining his light?
Stop listening to the lies. Get out there and shine your light! There are words that need to be written, songs that need to be sung, encouragement that needs to be given, hurts that need to be listened to. Whatever it is that God has called you to do, start doing it. And go ahead and listen to this amazing new song by Josh Wilson for encouragement J