We were going to drive down the Natchez Trace to Columbia then over to Pottsville and lunch at MarcyJo’s. Then back to the trace to visit the waterfalls. (The rainbow you see was actually visible and not something we found on the picture. Julie kept trying to catch the rainbow.)
It DID end up a great day…but God decided He needs to do a little talking to me as well.
It’s going to alter my life.
I’d been praying a lot about the writer’s block I’ve had since the Blue Ridge conference and have been praying for God to open the door for me to write fiction again. As those of you who’ve followed the blog for a while know, I’ve wanted to write crime fiction with a Christian worldview. I’ve been thinking about working a paranormal element into it. You see, those genres have been where I’ve been sucked in over the years. In fact, I’ve loved horror movies, “scary” shows like the X-Files or paranormal things since long before I became a follower of Christ.
A lot of things that can glorify the “dark” side of things. That pay a ton of attention to demons and spiritual warfare. That sometimes make evil look cool.
I’ve been struggling with that over the last few months and began to wonder if that was the reason I wasn’t getting any doors opening with human trafficking outfits and why I couldn’t seem to write any fiction because it was all in that genre. I began to feel really guilty when I would watch a horror flick or get excited at the idea of a new episode of Paranormal State or Ghost Hunters.
We started down the Trace and it wasn’t even a mile before Amy stopped me in the middle of talking how excited I was over the new trailer for Paranormal Activity 2. I was speaking of the way the trailer reveals little hidden details and the overall twists of the plot and how I wished I could write something like that.
Amy pursed her lips. That’s her code for “You’re not going to like what I’m about to say.”
“You’re not going to like what I’m going to say,” she said.
I knew what she was going to say before she said it. Well, the topic anyway. [more]
“Do you realize how often you talk about paranormal things?” she said. “Do you realize how often you allow those dark things into your life?”
Over the next half hour, we unpacked in conversation a lot of the things I’ve been feeling over the last few months. I’ve been feeling a lot of times like I was under spiritual attack and I’ve commented on it here on this blog. I would feel an oppression and there were times I sat in my office where I felt so down, so depressed and it would descend on me so suddenly. I was convinced that it was demonic in nature and I didn’t talk about it a lot because I know there are many people who don’t believe in spiritual warfare or think someone who feels that they’re being tormented are just nuts.
I didn’t fight her in the discussion. I knew she was right. Then, she hit me with what I’m sure was God’s coup de grace:
“Do you think you let these things into your life through the dark things you read and see?”
It was at that moment I knew that I had to stop fighting God and rid my life of all the dark forms of entertainment I had been letting into my life. No more movies like Paranormal Activity. No more Ghost Hunters or Paranormal State.
No more crime novels where evil is a main player in the picture. No more Silence of the Lambs. No movies or books where I find myself thinking about how well written or how well acted is the main villain.
When this hit me, I had to realize how often I was drawn to the “wrong” character in films. If you asked me some of my favorite movie characters, it would be guys like Hannibal Lecter or Riddick (from Pitch Black.) The bad guys were always more interesting to me than the good guys most of the time. Sure, I loved Jack Bauer but even Jack had a really questionable side to him. For every hero that had no moral ambiguity (like maybe John McClain from Die Hard) I had many more who leaned to the evil side of the spectrum.
I have to lay those down and say they’re not of God.
And every time I would work on a story, even though it was to have a Christian perspective, I always started with the killer or the evil character.
Sure, at the end the Christian character would win or overcome the evil in the story but I usually found a way to have the evil character live to ruin another day. I always seemed to hang onto the evil because it provided another chance or another chapter. I found myself in a place where I liked those characters so much I couldn’t bring myself to end them.
I have to lay that down and say that’s not of God either.
And being honest with you, this scares me more than a little bit.
The genre of movies I’ve watched since I was a teen…gone.
The books that have sucked me in my entire life…gone.
The TV shows that seemed to spark creativity…gone.
The writing I felt most driven to do…gone.
The writing I did to raise human trafficking awareness…gone. (Because of the evil that surrounds that, I feel like that has to go as well.)
At this moment, I have nothing creative to put on the table. I have no stories that don’t have a supernatural or evil element to it. Not that I was really able to put down on paper the ideas in my head but I have to say those stories are not what God wants me to focusing on because it would suck me into movies and stories where He doesn’t want me to spend my time.
So as of this moment, I am no longer attempting to write Christian worldview based crime fiction.
What will I write? I don’t know. I have no idea at all. I may not write a book.
I just know this is what God wants me to do next.
And what’s kind of ironic is that as I type this and look back at it while listening to the sermon from tonight’s live service of Table Rock Fellowship, I realize those ideas and those movies and those characters were being placed in front of God. In their own way, they were idols on top of all the possible spiritual elements they allowed into my life. There’s no doubt in my mind they have to go. It’s not hard for me to let go of these things that have been a part of my life for at least 25 years but it’s still daunting to say “all this is gone.”
I’ll be honest…it’s scary to lay that all down and trust that He’s going to fill that space in my life.
But I’ve done it.
Let’s see what God has in store for me next. (Amy had suggested I take a drive tomorrow down the Trace before we had our trip today…I’m not sure I could handle it!)