As I press onward in my quest to become the person God wants me to be, I can’t help but reflect on how gracious God really is. I am hard-wired to be creative – writing, painting, playing music, directing for the theatre … these are a just a few of my passions. Sometimes, however, I get annoyed when I have to do all those other things that continually take my time and attention away from what I love. I get angry when it seems like people don’t appreciate all my efforts. I get impatient when my writing career isn’t progressing as fast as I would like it to. I get discouraged when I get another rejection letter for a manuscript I’ve sent in for perusal.
Then I have to stop and ask myself. Why do I write? Why do I paint? Why do I do any of the things that I pour my heart into? The bottom line is, I do it because I love to do it. It’s the way God made me – with a desire to constantly be in ‘create’ mode. But ultimately, that need to create, no matter in what form, needs to be a reflection of the Creator Himself.
Now, I’m not talking about always including ‘religious’ symbolism in my work. I don’t think that is necessary. Creation itself speaks about God’s glory, but there isn’t a placard anywhere saying “Made by God”. Similarly, whatever I’m doing, be it directing a secular play, writing a novel, or painting a picture, it must be reflective of who I am as a unique individual created in the image of God. Also, I must remain true to the calling that I feel on my life. No watered down ‘pansy’ work for me! I’m just not that inspired by anything too sentimental or flowery. Some people (like my husband) might like to tease me and say I’m a bit of a cynic – maybe even a rebel, but I’m really not the romantic type, even though, I write Romantic Suspense.
Once, quite a few years ago, I entered a juried art show with some Intaglio prints I had made. The subject matter was quite melancholy; the color palette mostly black. The adjudicator asked me if I was depressed, which made me laugh because nothing could be further from the truth! I feel very content and satisfied with my life, (and did back then, too) but I have always been fascinated by the deeper, darker side of the human psyche. It’s why I love Shakespeare’s tragedies, like twisted stories (’The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson is the BEST STORY EVER WRITTEN!) and admire artists like Kathe Kollwitz. I’d far rather watch a Sci-fi flick than a romance, and – I’m being honest here – I really do not like bonnet romance. Period.
It’s why I feel there is a market out there for the kind of Christian fiction that I write. I like a story with a little bit of an edge – something slightly unexpected and that contains characters that are ‘real’, with their less than perfect flaws and all. At one time I felt apologetic for my tastes and interests, (Well, maybe not, but it makes me feel good to say so …) but I have long since given up trying to please every one all the time.
I am grateful for a husband who loves me for who I am, idiosyncrasies and all. I’m also grateful for children who have learned to stand up for themselves as individuals while maintaining their faith in Christ. Which brings me back to my first point. I am grateful for God’s blessings, especially in regard to making me the way I am. I am so blessed to be able to love and worship Him in freedom, without fear that I am ‘doing it wrong’. I am who I am and God made me that way. As long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, I need not worry about trying to please another.