Welcome to Part 10 of the Writing by Faith series for Christian authors! If you’re new to Authoring Arrowheads, be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future series posts!
If you haven’t yet read previous installments of the Writing by Faith series, you can do so here.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.Matthew 17:19-21, kjv
Sometimes, the toughest aspect about following God’s calling to be a Christian author isn’t just writing by faith, but summoning the faith to even pick up a pen. While we’ve already covered the importance of continually writing by faith, even when the lingering monster known as Stats tries to hinder our efforts, what are we to do when we want to write for God, but have difficulty believing our efforts can ever amount to anything?
In the verses above, Jesus explains to His disciples that they could not cast out the demon from the child, not because they lacked the ability, but because they lacked the faith to do so. In this section of the Writing by Faith series, we will dive in to how we can summon and maintain that famous mustard seed mindset Jesus mentions, and how that faith will enable us to move the mountains that are blocking our author careers from growing.
Lord, Help Our Unbelief
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.James 1:3-8, kjv
If we are called by God to be Christian authors, the one thing we need to make sure of is that He is not constantly looking down on us in the midst of our pity parties, thinking, Oh ye of little faith. God gave us this Purpose to better His kingdom because He KNOWS that, hand-in-hand with Him, we can do the work to get there.
A common misconception for authors is that, while we’re doing all this writing, editing, publishing, and marketing, we have little “success” to show for it, and that, therefore, means all the work we’ve done is meaningless.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, my friend, that every single step we take in working toward our ministry as a Christian author shows FAITH that we will eventually come to see results from that work. Believing Satan’s lie that our faithful work for God is meaningless and will never amount to anything, and then subsequently giving up because of that, does nothing but expose our unbelief. And, as James 1:6-8 states:
For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Therefore, it’s only natural that our ministries as Christian authors aren’t taking off if we’re expressing unbelief. So, how can we recognize and battle unbelief?
Let’s go back to the first part of the passage from James chapter one. If we read closely, this passage can help us discover some tell-tale signs of unbelief forming, including, but not limited to, a lack of patience and wisdom.
Patience is a much-needed virtue to have as a Christian author, especially if God’s plan for our authors career involves years to develop and produce fruit; however, patience is difficult to come by, especially if we’re allowing ourselves to focus on what is not happening at the moment instead of focusing on honoring God in all we do.
How can we tell that our patience with God’s timing is waning? Well, have you ever:
- Implemented marketing practices that you didn’t really want to do, nor had asked God about, but that promised quick sales results?
- Got inconsolably upset after not receiving any book sales for a few days or weeks?
- Find yourself turning to the Internet or seasoned authors for guidance more than you’re turning to God in prayer?
I’ve been there, on all three, and trust me, giving in to these behaviors and growing impatient with God’s timing can lead us to straying from God, losing sight of His purpose for us, and eventually lead to a deep-seeded unbelief that it will ever come to pass.
A lack of wisdom in how to complete certain steps along the way, such as writing that first book, or how to get the book into the hands of readers who need it, can also plant seeds of doubt within us. We are met with obstacles at every turn, and struggle to do small tasks, while it seems like everyone else is killing it. Because maybe they have the natural gifts needed to make it as an author, and we mistakenly convinced ourselves that this is God’s calling for us. Because we can’t seem to figure it out on our own.
How can we tell when our lack of wisdom is contributing to unbelief?
- We try everything and anything (without turning to God in prayer) to increase our success sales-wise, and forget about producing God-honoring content.
- We compare ourselves to other authors who are doing amazing things, and cause ourselves to feel less than.
- We get stuck on a work-in-progress or marketing project, and stop working on it due to fear of failure
Going hand-in-hand with a lack of patience, the lack of wisdom complex can lead us to believe we were, in fact, not called to be an author, cause us to resent God for exposing our ignorance in this area, and cause us to give up on writing all together.
So, now that we’ve recognized some underlying causes of unbelief, how can we battle it and take back our mustard seed mindset?
I could sit here and tell you that, to battle unbelief, we would first need to combat the root causes and only then would we be free… but, instead, allow me to be honest. Both patience and wisdom can only truly be found by consulting one source: God Himself.
Now, you may be thinking, Well how is that going to work? We’re dealing with unbelief here. If we’re having trouble trusting God right now, why would we go to Him?
That’s a fair question. One that, just a couple years ago, I asked myself when I went through my roughest season to date with God. The woman who very soon would be my mother-in-law was in her mid-fifties, and unexpectedly passed away. I had a great relationship with her, and eagerly awaited the day I’d marry her son. I knew she would be the best grandma to our future kids.
But, in a couple weeks, that long-awaited wedding day will arrive, and my husband won’t have his Momma there to dance with. If he and I are blessed with kids, they won’t be able to meet their grandma here on earth, though our niece and nephew had that privilege before she passed.
For months, I was so angry at God. While I still believed He exists, I heavily questioned the Whys of everything, which then led me to question if He still loves me, and if He wants me to be miserable.
I tried, for months, to drag myself out of that dark place to no avail. I tried switching up my routine. I tried reading self-help books. I poured my grief into writing the first draft of The Fall (The Ballad of Emery Brooks, #2). None of it worked.
Honestly, I don’t even recall what the pivotal moment was, or even when it happened, but one day, I got so fed up with everything going on, that I picked up and binge-read The Bible on my Kindle. No, it didn’t have an instant calming affect. I read mad. I read with tears streaming down my face. Days later, I got upset again, and I opened The Bible back up. Eventually, the more I did this, the more the Word captivated me, shining light in those dark moments. I began to read The Bible again regularly. This opened the door to gratitude journaling, where I wrote out a three-line prayer every day. The short prayers then graduated into one or two page cries to God in a prayer journal. And now, over a year after picking up that Kindle copy, I’m walking with God again, fully trusting and believing Him.
So, honestly, friend to friend, the only true, foolproof method I know for battling unbelief is to just dwell in God’s presence. Dwell with any and all the emotions you carry, but do make a point to dwell. God can work His way back into your heart, but you have to be open to allowing Him. And, if you allow Him to water that tiny mustard seed of faith you still carry, be prepared to watch it bloom in time.
And We’ll Watch Him Move Mountains
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.Mark 11:23-24, KJV
Jesus stated time and time again that if we shall not doubt, and truly believe that God will enable the things we pray for to become a reality, that we shall receive them.
Now, let’s be real… if we sit on our butts, never work a day in our lives, and constantly beg God to place a Ferrari in our driveways, we shouldn’t be surprised if we receive cricket silence in return. As we covered in the Not by Sight section back in May, God doesn’t like for us to be slothful in business. He expects us to work, and not just cast materialistic wishes out for Him to grant us, like He’s a genie.
Therefore, there are two main biblical actions we must take to see mountains move:
1) Pray with unwavering faith that God can allow our ministries as Christian authors to expand, if it’s in God’s Will
2) Work toward an outcome with the mindset that God can move all the obstacles in our way
The world bombards us with motivational quotes, books, and seminars that preach that we can do anything we set our minds to. That we can live our own truths on our own terms. That we can manifest things and use our inner positivity, or good vibes, or what have you to attract prosperity into our lives. Christian authors, I highly advise you to run far, far, away from this worldly way of thinking. Remember in the Unbelief section when I mentioned how I tried, and failed, to dispel my frustration with God on my own? Moving mountains on our own is impossible, too.
Yes, we must not be slothful working on the Purpose God has called us to, but we must also not lose sight that God is ultimately in control of the outcome, and that we can’t force mountains to move by any methods of manipulation of our own. Instead, while maintaining that mustard seed mindset, we need to allow God to call the shots, and obey Him by doing the work with all we have.
In all honesty, I’m not coming to you as an expert on this. Reminding myself that God is the Project Manager, and I’m the task force, repeats on a daily basis. Nevertheless, each day, as we faithfully ask God to move these mountains in our paths, and as we diligently work with faith that those mountains can and will move, we will, in time, see ourselves thriving in God’s plan for us.
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
Have you experienced unbelief during your writing journey? What mountains have you seen God move in your Christian author career? Let me know in the comments!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.