This is something I've been pondering for a long time, and I hope that writing about it some will help me sort through my feelings. That usually helps, and is a major part of why I started this blog in the first place.
I've loved to write for as long as I can remember. I was always a shoo-in for the "best author" award in elementary school. In high school and college, I aced every paper I ever wrote. Outside the scope of school, writing has always been something I fall back on, a favorite skill of my employers, and something I have done both to make a living (at least in part) and for pleasure. I believe God gives all of us talents, and this happens to be one of mine. I also believe He gives us talents for a reason, to use for His glory and to do His work. And herein lies my conundrum.
Blogging is fun, and writing for work is fine. But what I love is fiction. Yes, I'm one of countless writers out there slogging away on a novel, hoping to one day see her book amidst the shelves of bookstores everywhere. Specifically, I like to write fantasy. I love to read fantasy, and my love of all things fantastical is realized in the creation of my own little world - the characters, the geography, kingdoms, supernatural abilities, the strange and unexplained. I love it. My absolute favorite books are fantasy and writing the genre has been a natural extension of my love for fantasy.
What I'm struggling with is this - what if I spend my time and devote myself to writing these books I have in my head. And what if I'm actually good enough to be successful. Great, right? I get to do what I love and entertain those who delve into the web I spin.
Yet - is this the best use of the talents that God has given me? To write works of fiction purely for entertainment?
The thing is, I really, really want the answer to be "yes." It's something I love to do and for a long time my ultimate dreams for myself have had "successful fantasy author" amongst them. Two of my favorite authors both wrote epic works of fantasy (J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) and were both devout Christians (not that I am comparing myself talent wise to either Tolkien or Lewis!), so it has to be possible, right?
I also recognize that what I think I want isn't always what God wants for me. And what God wants for me, God's will for me, will always be what is best for me and is infinitely more important than what I might dream for myself.
This isn't so much a case of worrying that I'm going to miss the boat on God's will for my life if I keep writing fiction. I believe that God honors our choices in life (as long as they are moral choices), and can work through us in limitless ways. If I take a left turn, God will be there along that road, ready to work through me on that path. If I take a right, He'll be there too.
Is fiction writing the best use of my time and talent? Should I be out there, doing something else to serve God and serve others? Is there a balance that allows me to do both? Perhaps there is and it is something I will continue to prayerfully consider. I have prayed about it quite a bit and haven't felt any burning need to abandon my works of fantasy, so perhaps I already have some of my answer. And who knows, God works outside of time while my limited perception is bound to it. Perhaps someday I will understand better how my talent can serve God more directly. Or perhaps using my talent in this way will bring opportunities I would not have otherwise had. I guess I need to trust in Him and do my best to keep listening.