I have been posting my answers to an interview I did on Twitter back in November for #MounceChat (which I believe has since merged with #HealthyFaith.) As I mentioned previously, this started because a participant, Rachael Colby, suggested I turn some of the questions and answers into blog posts. Solid advice. Since the third question was on a topic I have covered in a previous blog post, I’m going to skip ahead to the fourth question I was asked which was, “How does your faith influence your writing?? Here was my response:
C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” I think the same can be said of writing because to write at all is to expose yourself to your reader. My faith is who I am so, it comes out very naturally in my writing.
I grew up thinking that Christian music, movies and novels were mostly pretty cheesy. And, to be fair, a lot of it is. Certainly, a lot of it was. But, when I was younger, that caused me to run away from it instead of becoming someone who could try and improve upon what was out there. In my youth, I said I would always be a Christian and a writer but, I would never be a Christian writer.
So, on a number of projects I actually made an effort to write and keep certain things from coming off as “Christian.” But, it always felt dishonest because I was holding back a huge part of who I am. I used the excuse that Jesus came to heal the sick, not the healthy. It’s a truth Satan can twist to distract us from our mission.
Shortly before I started writing novels I began to realize that’s the same excuse people use when they water down the gospel or become preachers for selfish gain instead of fully giving themselves over to the Lord to be used by God the way God chooses. Contrary to what our attitudes sometimes suggest, He doesn’t need any help in deciding how to handle anything. To suggest otherwise would be to pretend we belong on that throne. Scary thought.
It’s a struggle everyone has because it’s the essence of sin itself. It’s pride and it’s wrong. What He wants, instead, is for us to let go and allow Him full access and full control. So, I’ve finally embraced it. It’s a decision that brings peace.
I’ve been encouraged as Christian music and even Christian movies have gotten better. But, I’ve also gotten closer to the Lord since I got married and now it feels like to hide that part of who I am would be to hide the whole of me. Quite frankly, if I did that, I don’t think my writing would be any good at all. I think that embrace really shows in my most recent book, “The Gift of Rio” more than in anything else I’ve ever written. Some of the people close to me, who have read most of the things I’ve written over the years, have told me that they think it’s the best thing I’ve written to date. I know this, it’s the most personal. And, that typically makes the writing better.