I have a confession to make, readers. A year ago at this time and before that, I was not walking the faith in the way I should. Sure, I believed that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to forgive our sins, but I compartmentalized my faith into a “something we do on Sunday” and did not consider God every day. I didn’t pray every day. I didn’t read scripture every day. I was like the person who is trying to lose weight but eats junk food every meal but one protein shake and won’t do anything else. But Christ said “You must serve the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37). He didn’t say to make it a once a week thing.
It sounds pretty daunting to do. But it’s actually very easy. The Bible has a running motif: “Do not be afraid.” It’s said over and over in awesome, divine instances, but it’s also commanded to the church in our day to day lives not to be anxious or afraid. And often times, we do let the fear that society will reject us dictate our walk with the Lord. It results in casting our faith in the shadow of our lives rather than making it something central and bright.
The way to change that is a very simple thing indeed: 1. Listen. 2. Let Him work.
As much as that is something so small, we all, myself included, think of ways to evade both of these things. “But I’m so busy today…” is an easy one. “But what will people think of me…” is another. I struggled with the latter, a compulsion to have everyone like me that pushed me into shyness about what proclaiming what is right. Most knew that I called myself a Christian, but most also couldn’t see me doing anything different than they were doing. It was very easy to fall into that lull, and it still is. It, like almost everything else we’re supposed to do, requires vigilance and daily work/prayer.
The incredible part, is that God plants the seeds and is here to help us grow. Once you see the beautiful interconnectedness of God’s plan, the way that this universe fits together like a puzzle, the vast intricacies of everything he designed, it’s impossible to stop. And that simple observing is enough to change you and me.
I reflected on the last year in my life, and I saw a big change. One that God put in the works for a long, long time, but I failed to see.
God has long called me to witness to the entertainment community, especially in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields. This industry is full of pure worldly vapidity, and full of not only a disinterest in the divine, but a flat-out disdain for God and Jesus Christ that is painful to see. It’s a very scary place, and the prospect of being shunned/rejected is very real. If you just scroll back through some of my comments, you’ll see that there’s plenty of folk who want to make sure that rejection stings as much as possible. It’s pretty awful and painful at times to get that treatment, especially from people who I revered and respected as heroes. I won’t sugarcoat it and say that’s not there.
So naturally the first thing I did was ignore it. God was in the back of my head for years telling me to do something. I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought perhaps I was supposed to write an allegorical Christian fiction, or something more straightforward… and even that I put off. For years I said next to nothing, letting myself be a quiet Christian who fits in with the world.
And what happened? The world rejected me anyway. I wasn’t making much headway. Even though I had a book contract and was working with some big-name industry insiders on a pretty well-known property, people didn’t come to read. God did not bless that course of action in the least, because it was a worldly goal with a worldly end. I was ignoring my calling through all of that. Because I was afraid. Because I wanted acceptance.
Around that time (last summer), God was planting seeds within me and I didn’t even know it. I’m not sure what caused me to start reading Vox Day or reach out to him, but as I look back, I see that God moved in that. I wrote Vox a message, concerned about something that was going on in the church, as I observed that the messaging, the work being done, was moving toward a focus on pleasing the world and being accepted here, rather than following Christ no matter what it took. It’s ironic that I saw this in the church and not in myself, but it’s just another way that God connects stories and builds his vision. Vox wrote back with sound advice, blogged about the church and being vigilant in faith, and though I filed that away to some extent, it did one important thing: got me thinking about God’s will more often.
It spiraled from there, and it wasn’t any of my doing. When times got tough within the worldly side of science fiction, Vox was there again, and gave me a voice, a very loud one through his blog which I’m thankful for to this day. Having that voice, taking the steps to not be afraid paved the way for me to be able to speak about God and Christ in an open manner. To shout His praises from the rooftops and have no fear. The connection is a small one, a kernel of concern about the church, leading me to a person (if you look at the Bible, almost every story is God leading those who follow him to people, and connecting his people and the Body of Christ so we can do great things together), that on the surface didn’t seem like anything other than an industry contact. It was a whole lot more.
Because of that, I met up with Superversive Press. Again, little things, but this group is one that talks about Christ regularly, listens and prays for each other, it’s an edifying group online that cares and will hold each other accountable when we’re stumbling. It’s about the biggest blessing ever. Through them, I met my friend L. Jagi Lamplighter-Wright, who probably will be embarrassed to hear this, but she, along with some of the blogs by her husband, has been the primary driving factor in encouraging me in my faith and speaking out about it.
Now the cool little way God worked again? Jagi helped me edit my piece for Vox when I originally spoke out. In fact, that’s how I met her. She was compelled to do the little help with this, even not knowing me, probably without even knowing why or what it would lead to. He connected us all in very small ways, and that led me to finding and reading The Last Crusade blogs, which led me to a renewed spiritual enthusiasm.
All of this stuff was not my doing! It was other people working in the faith who just sprinkled their impact on me. If you ask both Jagi and Vox, they’ll tell you that it wasn’t much of their time or thoughts for this matter, but they were happy to lift a brother up. God compels them to work in the way they work as well. All caused at the onset by God telling me to be concerned about the church, which led Him to showing me that concern needed to start inside me to make a change.
Little things. All connected. It just takes opening our eyes to see it. And we won’t even see it at all unless we 1. Listen. 2. Let Him work. Pray. That little inkling telling you to walk the path is God letting you know what’s right for His plan. Don’t be afraid. You’re not alone. He’s always with you.
And that’s the good news, brothers and sisters. When you do reach out and find out what God wants you to do, and start doing it, He WILL bless you in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. The moment I started down this path, the moment I started putting Him first above all else, my career in this field changed. Sure, I had the shunning and I get the name calling by some, but that doesn’t matter in the least. God’s blessed me with tremendous support from far more of His people who care, who want to see me grow in the faith, who want to grow in the faith themselves. We build each other up and it only compounds from there. Look at what He did with just 12 followers, after all. He’s instilled far more than 12 into my life since this time.
I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t have any regrets in dedicating more of my time, more of my energy, more of my prayers and more of my life to Him. It fills me with great joy every day and keeps me going when times are tough. It’s amazing grace, for real.
He’ll do the same for you. All of your troubles, all of your pain, lift it up to Him. God wants to help you. There’s nothing more that I’d love than to share this journey with you.
If you’re reading this for the first time and haven’t encountered Christ. It’s amazing what he did, far more so than my little story of receiving his blessings. God came down to earth, lived the only perfect life in existence, and sacrificed himself at our hands, using his own blood and pain to wash away all of our sins and evils. The amazing part of it all is that he rose from the dead three days later, and came back to proclaim the good news to all of us. Here’s here for us, and He’s listening.
If you want to know more, if you want prayer, if you want friendship, I’m not just here to blog. I want to help you like the others helped me. You can leave a comment, I can get your email off of that. Or find me on social media and I’m happy to talk more about this. We can change the world together and it starts with a prayer.