I’m a fiction writer by trade, and that means people can find me. They can also let me know when I have disappointed them, angered them, and let them down by writing something they don’t like.
Honestly, sometimes I wish I lived way back in the day when female writers were given male pen names and hidden in the shadows. As much as I love to write, I’m much too thin-skinned for the job, and this week someone’s harsh words reminded me just how true that is.
Yes, I got one of those emails. Darkness pounced. Very often those who find something distasteful in my writing go right for the jugular–“A real Christian would never write…” They don’t simply question my words on the page, they question my very deepest soul.
A powerful practice
A few months ago I began a daily practice of starting my writing days with a business meeting. I have a long list of questions cobbled from several sources, questions that can lead to prayers on all aspects of my writing, from “What is your heart for my readers?” to “What do I need to do today, God?” to “What lies am I believing about…[current issues]?”
Some days I read through those questions to know how to talk to God. I read back through other days. Some days I know exactly what God and I need to talk about. I watch the progression of answers and thoughts and spill my fears and hopes and disappointments on my writing journey.
Those minutes might be some of my favorite minutes of my day. They are definitely my favorite minutes of my workday, because God comes through. He’s shown me new directions, calmed my fears, and shown me his love for me.
So of course I took this to Him. I can get off course, so I needed to know if this person’s anger was indicative of a problem in my words or just the heart of the hearer.
Out of the blue…
Then God did this amazing thing. The angry emailer attacked one of my Young Adult books, and out of the blue, I got an email last week from a Young Adult author. She’d read one of my free books, and she loved it and wanted to interview me.
I said yes, although Introvert Jill, still unsettled by the angry email, debated longer than she should have.
In the course of our emailing, this author and I found instant rapport. I made a friend. Not a BFF kind of friend, but still a new friend, a sister in faith and a sister in writing who understands the writing journey.
God lifted me out of the pit in which I’d fallen, rubbed off some of the muck, and set my feet back on the rock. He did it through an author interview that He ordained with no input from me.
My true self
Why? Because I am loved. Whether my writing goes well or goes badly, whether people like me or not, whether I succeed or fail in just about any aspect of my life, I am loved.
Not as a writer or a mom or a wife. God loves me as His creation, His daughter. He looks out for me.
He looks out for you, too.
The email still stings. I’m still working on that thicker skin, although maybe it needs to stay thin and my heart needs to stay tender to write what I do. But God is paving the path before me with blessings and assurances that no email gets the last word on who I am or my value to Him.
Do you have any pit-to-rock stories where God lifted you up from a bad place and settled you in a good one? I’d love to hear them.
And, if you’re curious, here’s a link to that interview. Liz Boyle is the author who answered God’s prompting to help me out, and since meeting her I’ve read her books and fully recommend them. I admit at the end I sat back and said “Wow, I wish I’d written that.”
Blessings, and I hope today God reminds you how much he loves you just because you are his beloved creation.