When it comes to faith, it tends to be feast or famine in terms of writers who talk about it. Some writers insert biblical quotes in every paragraph to get their point across. And others exhibit a more quiet faith, perhaps even a more guarded faith.
I suppose I’m somewhere in between. This moderate stance is pretty reflective of a lot of my thinking. While I view myself as a Jesus-follower, I’m quite accepting of people from many faiths and walks of life. In fact, I always say I’m part Buddhist, simply because I love the Buddhist sayings. How could anyone not like these beautiful thoughts:
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha
“Be kind to all creatures. This is the true religion.” Buddha
If I weren’t a Jesus-follower, I’d definitely be an all-out Buddhist.
But, I see God all around me.
No, not in an “I see dead people” kind of way. I mean I see the evidence of God everywhere. When someone asks me why I believe in God, I share a similar answer as I did about Buddhist thoughts.
“How can I not believe in God?”
When I see a flower or I’m in the midst of a garden, I feel God’s presence the greatest. Some people say they go to a church when they want to pray to God or feel God’s presence. And, I’d have to say, I’ve felt God in some churches and totally didn’t in others.
But, one place I can always count on feeling closer to God is nature. When I look at how it all comes together and see creation and its perfect beauty with my own eyes, it is then I know God is there too.
Call me crazy, but when I look at the trees, I almost feel as though they have souls. I see living artifacts of nature that have stood for sometimes generations. I almost feel their sorrow in seeing how we are treating the planet.
I guess you could say that’s another thing some people might find odd about me. There’s a general thought in the population that Christians aren’t environmentalists and environmentalists aren’t generally Christians.
I don’t know know how true that is, but I can only speak for myself. Nature helps me to see God more clearly. To experience His peace and His presence more fully. To experience and see evidence of His love.
But it’s not the only place I experience God. He imparted in me long ago that to love Him was to love my fellow human beings.
God is the love we put out into the world.
When I see others — the tired waitress at the restaurant, the homeless man at the corner, the businessman who’s so busy earning a living that he’s forgotten why he’s doing it, my sick neighbor or friend, the Muslim woman in Costco — I see God. I see opportunity. I see the opportunity to experience God’s love by doing what He would do. By loving others, no matter what their circumstance or belief is.
Ultimately, I believe in God because I can’t imagine a world without Him. The world is a beautiful, but messed up place. And honestly, man’s got to take the blame for the latter. The real beauty of the world is due to God and the messy parts are because of us. We often don’t want to admit it, but it’s there staring us in the face.
But you know what, it doesn’t matter to God. Because He sees the beauty within us. He sees our potential. To Him, we are a tiny flower that hasn’t yet fully bloomed. And, He waits patiently, allowing us in our own time to reach our full potential.
I have a need to acknowledge the beauty that overshadows the ugliness. And I have an inherent need to love the way God does. Which means loving the unlovable while believing we’re all meant for something greater.
And this brings me to why I believe my love for God makes me a better writer. Now, I want to clarify that I don’t mean that this makes me a better writer than another writer. I mean it makes me a better writer than I would be without God.
My faith makes me feel more responsibility. And I feel a responsibility to write about things that benefit the world. That benefit humanity.
I was once an Amish and Christian fiction ghostwriter. I’d developed somewhat of a good reputation in the field. Nonetheless, I actually had a few offers come my way to write erotica. The pay was substantially better than the other genres. But, I turned those jobs down. It was not anything that I felt benefitted humanity or myself.
I want to write about good things.
Now that I’m working on my own fiction short stories and novels, I’m focused on writing in themes that benefit others — forgiveness, redemption, adoption, love, awareness of illnesses such as Alzheimers and alcoholism, abuse, and yes — faith.
Writing on Medium also gives me an opportunity to write what I want to write about. I own that responsibility, even more, when I’m writing on my own. I want to put good into the world.
I know I’m not 100% there yet and maybe I never will be. But, each day, it’s what I strive for. To be a better person and to become a better writer. And when I fail, I know it’s all part of being human. And failures help me to grow.
My faith in God also makes me a better writer by using my weaknesses to create something powerful. To be a living testament that shows God is my strength. I have illnesses that cripple my abilities every day.
And there are many days I could wallow in self-pity and do nothing. But, God helps me to pick myself up enough to figure out more positive things to do with life. And writing is at the top of that list. It helps me to connect with others and send out positive vibes.
I love that part of my life. And I love the one who gave me life.
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