By Claire Tucker
“Is it right for a Christian to write fiction?”
“Well, yes,” I would answer. “But …”
But maybe it isn’t right for me. Maybe that isn’t what God wants me to do with my life. It’s right for other people, like C. S. Lewis and Francine Rivers and every other really great Christian author out there, but that’s them. I’m me.
Doubt. It’s one of a writer’s near-constant companions. Sometimes it can be good. That niggling thought that this story just isn’t working can drive us to seek outside help. That worry that something is off with this character sends us deeper into characterization. The concern that this theme is just not fitting into the story causes us to take a closer look at it.
But not all doubts are equal. And, as a Christian who wishes to write stories that honor and glorify the One Who is writing our story, there are some doubts that can’t be ignored. One of them being whether or not it’s actually right to create and write fictitious stories when you’re a Christian. I mean, if I have the ability of writing clearly, then wouldn’t it be better to use that skill to write persuasive non-fiction that builds the faith of those who read it, instead of creating characters that don’t exist, putting them in situations that didn’t happen and then making the whole thing sound pretty and calling it story?
This doubt can’t be ignored because it will hamper your story writing and give a megaphone to every other doubt that whispers in your ear.
So, what’s the answer? Is it right for a Christian to dream of being published and to work toward that? Is it right for us to spend years honing our craft, trying to create tales that are worthy of being seen in print?
Not surprisingly, there isn’t one answer to this question. Just like there isn’t only one way of telling a tale. But I believe that the heart of the issue is the same.
The question isn’t whether or not fiction is acceptable in the Kingdom of God but whether or not it is acceptable for me to be writing it. The question isn’t about the purpose of story and if God can use a story to change a life but whether or not I am the instrument He wants to use to write that story. This particular doubt targets the individual Christian who wants to be a writer. But it also targets the Creator of that individual.
You see, as Christians, we have been taught that we are all uniquely created by God. We are taught that He put thought and care into making us (Psalm 139:13, anyone?) and that He gave us the gifts and talents that we have.
In short, we are taught that we are created by God and that all we have and all we are comes from God.
This doubt directly challenges those beliefs. Do you really believe that God gave you this skill? Do you really believe that God planted the desire to create stories within you? Don’t rush over answering these questions. At the core of your being, do you believe that God created you the way you are? Because if He did, then He has a purpose for you in writing stories because He gave that skill to you. And it’s a purpose that only you can fill because God has intentionally positioned each one of us in life.
So what, then, are we supposed to do with this skill? Especially if we’re just starting out on our writing journey and don’t even have a clue as to why God gave us this skill.
Take a moment to think about the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:11-27). In the parable, a man went on a journey and entrusted his wealth to his servants. When he returned, he asked them what they had done with the things he had entrusted to them.
Now, as Christians, we know that Jesus was speaking of Himself. He has journeyed to His Father, leaving us, His servants, here on earth. But He will return (or we will be called home) and He will ask us for an account of how we stewarded what He entrusted to us.
We all know the story. Two of the servants worked and labored to increase what had been left in their care. One buried it away.
Writing and creating stories is a gift that has been entrusted to you by God. It’s going to take effort to grow it. But leaving it tucked away, unacknowledged and ignored, is not going to produce a return that can be given back to God. Because that is what stewardship is: the faithful oversight of something that is not yours to keep.
At the end of the day, God will ask us how we used the gifts He entrusted to us. I, for one, wish to be able to present the gift of writing back to Him and say, “By Your grace and for Your glory, it has increased.”
May you be encouraged to view writing as a stewardship of a gift from our Creator.
Claire Tucker is a Christian fantasy writer who enjoys creating stories that tackle questions of life and faith. She lives in South Africa, and enjoys spending time outdoors, reading books of any genre, and doing a variety of crafts and needlework. You can find her on Instagram @clairetucker_writer.
This post is part of the Writers’ Room, a collaborative writing advice column by Christian writers.