by Jordyn Redwood
I think, particularly as Christian authors, we view our books as a way to get God’s Word out in a non-threatening manner. Novels are easier to hand to someone than a Bible and generally an easier area of conversation.
However, two recent events are causing me to change my view on that a little. Recently, my minister said that when he’s working on a sermon series, the subject matter is usually something he’s struggling with-something God is trying to teach him about.
I also had the good fortune to hear Ted Dekker speak during his Outlaw Tour down in Colorado Springs. A big theme of his talk was that his struggles as a Christian come out in his books. His questions about faith. Those uneasy issues that we all contemplate. Is God real? Is He who He says He is? Is there really Heaven? Is my belief in Christ truly enough?
Perhaps, we as authors, are really working through our own issues and the denial aspect is that we’re helping other people. And maybe that’s a collateral benefit but is it really about me?
Really? About me? It can’t be because my spiritual life is all figured out . . .
I began to think through the books I’d written and the ones I was planning on writing. There were some consistent themes. Truly believing in God’s sacrificial love. Letting God take control. Being submissive to His will for your life.
If I look honestly at these themes they are what I struggle with the most. A God . . . people . . . the Lord of the Universe dying one of the most painful deaths ever . . . for me. My heart usually reconciles this easily but my intellectual side waivers occasionally. Really, this is what you believe?
And sometimes with a big gulp . . . I whisper yes.
I’m a control freak by nature. It lends to the job I do every day. As an ER nurse it is expected of me to bring control to chaos. I am stubborn and independent-which is the nature of two out of three of my heroines. They’d rather fix it themselves than reach out for help and yet, when circumstances become insurmountable, they must do so to survive.
Isn’t this how it is with us? Maybe it is just me and all of you are very good at relinquishing control. If so, please let me in on your tips.
So as we write these stories maybe what we need to do first is read our story with ourselves in mind and hear what God is trying to say to that person we see in the mirror.
Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two novels, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal. Proof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award, 2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol Award. You can connect with Jordyn via her website at www.jordynredwood.com.
Thank you so much for this reminder, Jordyn. As I read your post I realized this is true in my own writing as well. I struggle with believing the fairy tale. Am I really adopted by the King?Will I really be part of His Son’s Bride? Trying to write that in a believable way through a fairy tale mirrors my struggle with believing in my own happily ever after:)
Wonderful post, Jordyn. What’s that saying “we teach what we want to learn”? Perhaps it’s the same for we novelists, we write what we’re wanting to get a better grasp of in terms of our faith.
I’m fascinated by the natural/supernatural intersection and how prayer activates heaven. And guess what? That’s write my novels are about.
Wishing you all the best with your writing, Jordyn.
The existential questions plague all of us at various times and in various ways. Maybe we have our theology down pat, but that doesn’t make us always feel like we do, or feel like what we profess to believe is absolutely true. Such questions aren’t denials of our faith, rather they drive us back to God, and His word, to strengthen the foundation of our faith.
Incorporating our questions into our Christian characters’ lives is being honest. But it has other benefits. It presents opportunities to show, through our characters, the powerful evidence they find over the course of the story for faith in the one true God. And that provides answers they can give to anyone who asks them about the reasons for their faith.
Our characters can be apologists in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15-16 And so can we.
I relate. Being a control freak doesn’t end when I step into a worship space, or crack open God’s word. The real challenge for me is recognizing that being a “control freak” is itself antithetical to the Christian faith.
Our writing mirrors who we are. From the syntax to the literary structure and form, the words we write resonate our character. Astute readers pick up on far more nuances of our character than we ever hoped to reveal. When we write about our faith – in fiction, essays, or personal letters – our spirit is imprinted upon the text. So any challenges in our faith come out in our writing. It’s inevitable.
I encourage you to keep writing. I’ve found it helps me work out my faith, in awe and/or in fear, and realize the depth of my need for our Lord.