I recently read a book that really challenged me in various different ways. One of the things that particularly got me thinking was when the author challenged the phrase so many of us use ‘God has used me despite my circumstances’. She said that this simply isn’t true, and yet it has become an accepted explanation in Christian circles. The truth is He uses us through our circumstances. That’s the mystery of difficulties and suffering – while I don’t understand much about it, and certainly have a lot of questions for God about why my mum has had to suffer so much, I can’t deny that God’s ways are higher and too lofty for us to understand.
As I pondered the fact that He uses all the things we go through, it made me think about my writing. What does that mean for those of us who write? I have felt God prompt me to write about my own difficulties in the past and am persevering even though it feels raw and too hard at times because I can sense Him working through it.
If God works through all our circumstances, should we be being more transparently about our lives in our writing? As a non-fiction writer I can understand how that can work. There have been times when I’ve weaved in my own examples of what God has done even in the midst of pain, or my own mistakes, into books, Bible study notes or articles. And many of my regular articles reflect the subjects that I’m dealing with in my own life at the time.
The problem with being more open about our personal lives in our writing is that, at times, it feels like it makes us too vulnerable – and too open to misinterpretation and criticism (should those things be considerations or not?). I know there is that fine line between sharing too much and protecting ourselves by being too closed. I ask my husband to read everything I write before it is published in order to make sure he is happy I’m not going too far one way or the other.
But what about fiction writers? How do you reflect yourself and what God has done through you and in you through your life’s ups and downs within your writing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below, to learn more about how you reflect your life and faith in your writing.
Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.