Your Beautiful, Rowdy Story

Your Beautiful,
Rowdy Story
by Allen Arnold
If your attempts to write
are met with distraction, disappointment or disheartenment, it’s worth asking
why.
The natural reasons may
seem obvious – no free time to write, struggles with craft, or roadblocks from the
ever-changing publishing industry. Perhaps it’s the time drain of staying
active in social media.
But you don’t live in a
natural world.
You live in a supernatural
world.
And if you know that God
has given you the gift of story and
you are actively pursuing that calling with Him, then your writing will face
spiritual opposition.
As followers of the Way, we
have an enemy. Satan opposes both the story we are living and the stories we
are writing. I’m convinced he has a unique hatred for those who create worlds
with words because they remind him of the Creator. God is the Author of Life.
The closest Satan can get to this title is the Author of Lies. I think he burns
with envy when we join creative forces with God and are taught – as sons and
daughters of the King – how to breathe characters into existence and give birth
to worlds.

Hafiz, the 13th
century Persian poet, offers this gem: “The small man builds cages for everyone
he knows – while the Sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps
dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners.”

That’s worth reading again.
Our enemy is the small man who tries to keep us prisoners. God is the Sage continually
dropping keys of freedom into our scarred hands. The enemy does his best to
keep us caged so we never awaken to God’s invitation of life and creativity. Yet
God is our heroic rescuer who will not be deterred. His invitation is not
merely freedom – but a life of intimacy with Him. Don’t miss this. God doesn’t
just want you free. He longs for your presence.
If you are not actively
creating with God, then the story you are giving birth to has no power. Sure,
it may be well crafting, entertaining, and even evoke an emotional response.
But it will have no eternal spark. Only co-creation with God adds that.
So the enemy tries to keep
us imprisoned, numb to our true identity. That’s why

he rages as God
relentlessly drops keys to the beautiful, rowdy prisoners. Because once we are awakened
and set free, we can’t help but tell beautiful, rowdy stories of life, freedom,
rescue, and love.

Redemptive art flows
naturally from a redeemed artist – whether the themes and stories are explicit
or implicit. Some of the stories will be categorized as Christian Fiction while
others will be General Fiction. I don’t think God loses sleep about how we
categorize stories. The Kingdom is full of all kinds of redemption stories –
many neither safe nor G-rated. Over the ages, these stories have stirred
reader’s hearts towards what is true, noble, and authentic. That is why God
commands us to fill our minds with these thoughts and stories in Philippians 4:8-9.
It is a foundational passage for artist because what we consume influences what
we create. Consider the movies, television shows, songs, and novels you are
drawn to – and whether each injects life or poison into your creativity.
I hope you sense how your
calling is seen from the spiritual realm. You gift of words carries immense
power. You become far more than a storyteller when you enter into Creative
Fellowship with God. That’s why your novels may be opposed in ways you’ve never
considered. Knowing your creativity has an enemy isn’t a reason to be fearful
or hesitant. But it is reason to actively walk with God in every part of the
creative process.
God longs to create with
you. That’s the foundational reason he gave you the gift of words and stories – so the two of you can do
this together. And from that intimacy, the stories that are born can help
awaken the hearts of readers. But only in that order. Intimacy with God always comes
before impact for God.
See your time of writing as
being on a playground with God. Run where he runs. Pause where he pauses. Laugh
as you taste the rush of imagination and ideas with the Creator. Savor his
smile. Cry with him.
You will also want to
consecrate your creativity each day. Here is a consecration prayer specifically for Christian artists you might find helpful.

You were a beautiful,
rowdy prisoner. Now you are free. Don’t stop being beautifully rowdy as you
write. The world desperately needs more stories that are dangerous for good. In
fact, God has already dropped you the keys to do just that.

Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure
God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content &
Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge). Before that, he
spent 20 years in Christian Publishing – overseeing  the development of
more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was
awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But that doesn’t really
describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks
salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series “Once Upon a Time” and
is passionate about helping storytellers tell better stories from an awakened
heart.