Sometimes I’ve felt like my heart has been mangled with a wire brush. While most writers might want our books to sell more, many writers are surprised by the challenges that come with that kind of success.
I’m not talking about fame, notoriety, and greater demands. (Although those are challenges, too.) I’m talking about God’s sanctification process. It seems to me the greater influence one has, the more God’s really going to dig in and help you dig out the junk in your own heart. Why? As Luke 12:3 says, “Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”
I also like how The Message puts it:
“You can’t keep your true self hidden forever; before long you’ll be exposed. You can’t hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can’t whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day’s coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.” (Luke 12:2-5)
Or in the Tricia Goyer version: “The more influence you have, the more you’re going to reflect what a Christian is all about—for the good and the bad. And God is a God who doesn’t want anyone giving Him a bad name. But instead of giving His children the boot, God sets to work at scouring us out—transforming us into a vessel worthy of use.”
I’ve experienced this personally and I’ve even seen it happening in the lives of my author friends. Over the years God has dealt with me concerning past relationships, unhealthy longings, pride, the need for approval, and materialism. (To name a few!) I’ve had more days than I want to admit where I’ve relinquished things to God, only to go back to my unholy ways the next day. Yet God doesn’t give up. He knows that I can only be a good influence—through my words and my life—if His goodness is in me. That means scrubbing out the bad.
Sometimes I’ve felt like my heart has been mangled with a wire brush. Sin doesn’t release its grasp freely. But on the other side of that cleansing is a freedom that’s hard to describe. The freedom is worth the pain. God knows this. He knows I’ll thank Him in the end, even if it’s through blurry tears.
The thing is just when one area of my life gets cleaned up, God sets His gaze on another area I’ve been trying to ignore. Lately He’s been dealing with me about my struggle with daily habits and behaviors. The more I dig into God’s Word, the more I see it’s a spiritual issue. It’s yet other area where I want to please self instead of turning to God.
I know the journey’s going to be hard—with this issue and the other issues God will faithfully reveal. The battle against sin is always, well, a battle. But I’m looking forward to a greater freedom at the end.
I’m also looking forward to those who God will connect me with during the process. And just maybe my influence will touch them in ways it never could have before. That’s what I’m counting on. If something’s going to be shouted from the rooftops through my life and my witness, I want it to be about how faithful, loving, and dedicated God is about transforming me into the likeness of His Son.