Lots of Christian writers I know have mission statements for their writing. In other words, they’ve articulated for themselves why they write. I confess I have never done this. Never felt the need, though it might just have been that stubborn rebellion I tend to exhibit when being told I “ought” to do something. But during the course of some recent conversations, spoken and written, I stumbled upon the why of my writing. It surprised me–and yet it didn’t.
I write to disciple.
I’d never really thought of it that way before, but there it is. I don’t write to evangelize a non-believer who might happen upon my books, though that would be an awesome outcome. I don’t write to teach history or provide entertainment, though I strive to do both of those things as well. What I do is strive to show how spiritual growth happens, how spiritual truth is lived out in everyday lives, past or present. I pray my words, my stories play some small part of a person’s sanctification process. I hope they befriend, encourage and convict. That they stir dissatisfaction at a current state of being or reveal growth from a previous place, foster meditation on God’s truth and on personal obedience.
This wasn’t always my reason to write. The first two novels I ever finished were all about me, processing things God had done in my life, deep places He’d redeemed. The third novel I wrote was simply out of obedience to God and love for another person, because that person asked me to write that story. And then (I now realize) the shift happened. I wrote a story out of a desire to help another see the pain they were causing to themselves, to say the things from my heart that I had no relational right to say with my mouth.
Looking back, I see that same desire threaded through my three published novels. I recognize the core of my heart’s desire–to pass along what I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced. To keep others from making mistakes I’ve made or witnessed. To pour the Truth out of me and into others. But I’m not the person others seek as a mentor. I don’t speak the things of my heart very well. I do better when I write them. When I show what I mean through a character’s desire and struggle and victory.
And so I write, praying that each plot and sub-plot, each character, major and minor, speaks to someone who flips the pages, leads them into a deeper relationship with the Lord and yields eternal fruit.