Friday, December 17, 2010

The One Question You Don’t Need to Ask by Mindy Starns Clark

Welcome to another Fortifying Friday—the day we invite guest authors to share their journeys to publication, and/or encouraging words to fortify us as we all continue on our own writing journeys. Today, Mindy Starns Clark is here to talk about a question that many of us have probably asked not only once, but many times. Soak in and enjoy Mindy’s inspiring words.

The One Question
You Don’t Need to Ask

There’s one question no aspiring Christian author should ever ask, yet I hear it all the time:

Does God really want me to be a writer?

I may not know you, but I know the answer: Yes. He does. If you have the burning desire to write, then yes, absolutely, God wants you to be a writer. How do I know? Because He’s the one who created you and placed that compulsion within you in the first place! If you possess a persistent, driving urge to write, then that settles it: Yes, God really wants you to be a writer.

I think what’s really at issue here isn’t the answer but the question. How often have you asked if God really wants you to be a writer when what you actually meant was something more like this:

Does God really want me to be a published writer?
Does God really want me to be a
successful writer?
Does God really want me to be a
paid writer?

Now we’re talking about a different matter, about our own, earthly ambitions coming to fruition and earning tangible results. Make no mistake, it’s perfectly fine to want to be published or successful or paid for writing. I’ve based career on it. Being published can be incredibly rewarding.

But it’s important to remember that being published is not the same as being a writer. As a Christian, especially, you need to understand the difference. Being published is simply a career path. Being a writer is actually a much broader term. You see, God gave you this compulsion for a reason: so you would write words that He could use to touch hearts and change lives. And that can happen whether you ever achieve your writing ambitions or not, often in ways that you won’t even know about, at least not this side of heaven.

For example:

What if all you ever write is a column for your church newsletter? Well, perhaps that column will spark something in a reader and cause them to come to a service on Sunday, which in turn will lead them to rededicate their life to Christ.

What if all you ever write are submission letters for works that never get accepted? Perhaps God is using the submission process to teach you patience and humility. Or maybe one of your proposals, though rejected, has caused someone in your critique group to rethink something in their life that’s coming between them and God.

What if all you ever write is a little play for your daughter’s Sunday School class? Perhaps one of the actor’s lines includes a Bible reference that lodges in their memory and ends up staying with them for life and comforting them in a difficult time.

Or how about the ultimate of limited audiences:

What if all you ever write are private journal entries that no one ever sees but you? Then perhaps God has been using the act of journaling as a way to touch your heart, to change your life.

See what I mean? If you’re compelled to write, God wants you writing. Learning. Honing your craft. Taking chances. Exploring ideas.

Most importantly, whether you ever end up getting published or not, He wants you to surrender all of your writing to Him—so that He can take your words exactly where He wants them to go.

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of two nonfiction books and 12 novels, including her latest release, Secrets of Harmony Grove. A former stand-up comedian, Mindy is also a popular playwright and inspirational speaker. She lives with her husband and two daughters near Valley Forge, PA.

To learn more about Mindy and her books, please visit: