By Tanara McCauley
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
It’s a verse I know well, and one I’m prone to lean on in trying times or when faced with difficult choices. I’ve only recently realized, however, that it’s a verse I never fully believed.
I can do hard things through Christ.
I can do good things through Christ.
I can even do undesirable things for the benefit of others through Christ.
But I can’t do all things.
At least that’s what I’ve convinced myself to be true, and how I’ve lived many aspects of my life over the years, especially my writing life.
I’ve been writing for about five years now. And while I’ve grown in my craft, over time I’ve developed a burdensome process to writing and editing stories, a Frankenstein of a thing created from workshops and critiques and craft books and all manner of good resources that can stifle as much as they help if given the chance. And to add audacity to cluelessness, this process has become one of the “things” I can do through Christ.
Recently, however, I was prompted by someone to pray and seek what God is most excited for me to do next in my writing journey. The suggestion filled me with anticipation because I thought I knew what God was going to say. I already had in mind a project that would challenge me and, by my standards, require a great deal of faith to accomplish. I started plotting even as I prayed, only to find out God had other plans.
The paraphrased version of what He spoke to my heart was: “You know those books you love to read more than the rest? The books that make you close your eyes mid-chapter just to thank Me for the joy of a good read? That genre you’ve declared you can never write because you think you lack the imagination? Something you decided without ever asking My opinion on the matter? That’s what excites Me most. That’s what you and I are writing next.”
I wish I could say this answer to prayer thrilled me. It terrified me. So much so that the day I sat down to start this book–with hardly an inkling of what it would contain–I did so only out of obedience. Who wants to try writing a book in a genre they can’t write with a plot they don’t know and characters they don’t have?
And yet we finished an entire scene. Then the next scene. And then there’s a story growing scene by scene, unfolding as it’s written. Thrilling me to my bones.
I have never written so entirely tied up in conversation with the Lord as I have been with this book. Never felt so much like a faith-filled child, writing with abandon, skipping hand-in-hand with Him through each sentence without a care for the process or a worry about the destination.
We writers can get so caught up in our processes, goals, doubts, or discouragements, we forget that to walk by faith sometimes requires writing by faith.
I’m doing, through Christ, what I said I never could do. I’m learning to believe what I never fully believed.
I can do hard things. I can do good things. I can even do undesirable, painful things in the service of my Lord.
But I can also truly do all things, even as a writer, through Christ who strengthens me.
And so can you.
Tanara McCauley is a writer of all things ?. She is a member of ACFW and CWOW, and a contributing author to Thriving Family. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three kids and is working on her third novel. Visit her website at www.tanaramccauley.com.