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Write On Purpose

(Reprint of article written by Cheryl McKay for HOSFU)

There are three things I firmly believe:

First, God still speaks to us today.

Second, God uses pain and redeems what we’ve been through to help other people.

Third, God speaks through media.

As writers/authors, producers, directors, actors, and filmmakers, we have a vehicle through which to deliver God’s messages to many people who may not step foot into a church building.

As a writer, I love to welcome God into the process as my co-writer. I pray about what to write and how He wants me to write it. Sometimes I complain to God: “If You are helping me write, why do I have to rewrite?” I sense His smile with the reminder that I’m not writing Holy Scriptures. He shapes me through the rewriting process while I shape the work itself. Then, He prepares me to speak about the stories He’s led me to tell. (Can you say character development?)

God spends more time shaping my personal character with each project than I do honing the characters on the page. So often in this line of work, we don’t just get to hide behind our computer screens working on a book or script, or sit quietly in a theater as a movie of ours plays. This medium gives us a platform to speak beyond the story itself. Those messages are just as important to God as the ones we commit to the page. The interactions we have with our audience are also very important.

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 45:1 (NIV), which says, “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.”

We are God’s hands and feet on this earth. He uses us — when we are willing to be used — to spread His messages. Do you want Him to use you this way?

I want to encourage anyone out there, who feels called to reach hearts through the medium of writing or film, to welcome God into the process. If you are a writer, be ready to write on purpose. I don’t mean writing in a way that shoves a theme down someone’s throat; however, have a point to why you are telling your story.

My best writing comes from personal experience. As hard as it can be sometimes to do this, I encourage you to be willing to put yourself on the line. Share parts of your personal life that God encourages you to share. I have found that the projects people respond to best are usually those where I’ve been willing to do just that — to take something I’ve been through and turn it into a story. A lot of the pain I’ve experienced has been redeemed because of ways I’ve seen God use it through my writing.

When I penned the screenplay for The Ultimate Gift, the story became a lot more personal to me when my father had to have open-heart surgery. One of the story’s themes is “The Gift of a Day” and how precious life is. Most recently, I’ve written about my personal life through my script (and now novel) Never the Bride. I turned my life experience, my pain, my impatience, and my communicative relationship with God into a story. (This includes our fights, by the way.)

Had God not allowed me to experience some of the pains of singleness in my life, that story would not be published. We wouldn’t be hearing from women who feel like God has restored hope to them, that He cares about them and can be intimately involved in their lives.

If my character weren’t based on me, I don’t know if the story would be as relatable as people say it is. No doubt this is sometimes embarrassing — to admit to others my character Jessie is a fictionalized version of me — but I feel called by God to be an encouragement to other single people. People out there like myself who sometimes feel God is “asleep on the job of setting up their loves stories.” God is not asleep. Never the Bride clearly depicts that just when we think He is doing nothing, He is at work behind the scenes. He’s trustworthy, and He’s the most awesome being we can ever fall in love with.

I hope you, too, will be willing to put yourself out there for the sake of other people who may really need to hear what you have to say. Share that message God has placed on your heart to share. If you aren’t a writer, I hope you will seek out stories to produce, direct, or act in that you can stand behind because of the way they can reach others, restore hearts, and inspire souls.

Invite God to co-write, co-executive produce, and lead every message.

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