OPINION | INSPIRATIONAL
I recently ventured into a brick-and-mortar bookstore and it was actually busy! Teeming with people young and old, parsing the genre nooks, the checkout line had spurts of long lines as people left with an item or two.
Of course, this was a big-name bookstore with Fortune 500 money to make a business thrive. Maybe folks who support local businesses would never shop at this place, but based on business in that store, it was safe to say it had its community’s support.
As an indie artist, big commercial bookstores and mainstream traditional publishing companies are NOT my friends. As a Christian, it was even weirder to see more than one section dedicated to witchcraft books, like the actual practice of witchcraft. As a Christian who just came out of heresy, definitely dishearting to see the religion section hidden in the furthest corner of the store and a sea of books by heretical pastors and teachers within Christianity.
It was a reminder that American Culture is joining the world nations in going away from God. I often struggle with what to do about paganism growing in America. Do I evangelize more and pray the culture turns back towards Christ? Or do I still evangelize more and pray to endure whatever comes America’s way?
Like, America was heavily influenced by Christian and/or God-believing founders. America wasn’t really a Christian nation, but a lot of early settlers were Christ-focused and it is evident throughout history- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The busy bookstore reminded me of some facts I’ve picked up over the years. Millennials, my gen, is the most read generation, which means we read more than any generation that has gone before us. And amongst millennials, witchcraft is the fastest growing spirituality practice.
Now, no one has conducted a study on this next part, but I speculate the beloved Harry Potter Series has something to do with that. I knew a kid who loved Harry Potter in elementary. He looked more like Harry Potter on the original cover than Daniel Radcliffe and in high school he learned witchcraft was real, not just make-believe, and became a practicing pagan who was in a plural relationship when we were first in college.
Darkness is often seductive to the human flesh. Perhaps it’s the pride in all of us and the desire to be lord of our own lives, but part of me wonders if Hunger Games came out when we were kids, would this kid from elementary have wanted a career in politics or in reality television when he grew up?
For kids who don’t grow up with Christ in their life, they turn to books, tv, video games, athletes, music artists, influencers, etc. to guide them through this thing called life. And personally, I think I just felt convicted for letting my pride, my disappointment, and my discouragement stop me from writing a book series kids could just enjoy, connect to the characters and the journey of the story without being enticed by the lure of darkness. True, nothing is stopping me from doing it now, and granted, I could make an epic YA series and it never becomes a best-seller, but at least it would be out there and if one kid could connect to Christ through it instead of Satan and his lies, then it would be worth it, right?
I’ve been guilty of this, but a lot of us Christians are so me-centered that much of what we do is pointless in light of eternity. And no, I’m not saying to be a fruitful Christian, you have to do SOMETHING GREAT in the eyes of man. But we need to be intentional in our love and our worship of the LORD.
I’m big on boycotting Disney/Marvel/20th Century Fox (I did it before it was popular), DC, heretical written and performed worship music, yet, I still have a Netflix subscription… I think it is safe to say I’m sort of a hypocrite. I don’t believe in using curse words, yet I’ll watch rated-R or TV-MA content with foul language. And I’m not saying our actions save us, I know our actions are a result of salvation. But it isn’t okay to pick and choose what we want to abstain from and what we want to enjoy that is worldly. At some point, all we say and do, regarding one area, need to honor God. If it takes a lifetime to get there, so be it, but the point is we need to live for God and not for ourselves. And I’ll be the first to confess, I still have Netflix because I like some of the original shows and they are probably just as dishonoring to God or worse than some Disney/Marvel/20th Century Fox content tp date.
I write all of this, to persuade you, reader. If you love Jesus, the Lord your God, maybe get rid of your books that glorify darkness. End those monthly streaming subscriptions to companies that put out content that dishonors God (pray for me as I pray for you on this one). And this isn’t being religious or a pharisee, and this doesn’t mean you can’t ever watch an R-rated movie, and you can’t listen to an ex-witch tell you about witchcraft practices in America (for the means of evangelism), but what it means is that you want to deny yourself the lazy, self-indulgent pleasure of absorbing content you don’t need to fill your mind with because in no way does it glorify God.
I also write about this busy bookstore, because if you’re a writer like me, how encouraging such a phenomenon is to finish that manuscript and send it out to literary agents and publishers to get your work out there. And you may get rejected a hundred times, if you believe in your work, do everything you can to make it happen, and when you feel like giving up or you have officially failed, refuse to quit, rework what you need to, and do it again until it happens. Now be practical and be wise, especially financially, but never stop putting your faith in Christ as you endure the process of fulfilling a dream.
Now, I have to be careful how I phrase things here.
A “dream” can become an idol, right? We SO BADLY want the dream to become a reality that we prioritize it over everything and even God. If you sincerely love Jesus, then you will never see that dream come to pass because God is protecting you from your own pride.
But I’m a firm believer that the desires and dreams we have stem from promises God chooses to bless humanity with and/or how He designed us to be. No one tells a young woman desiring to be married and to have children and to be a stay-at-home mom that God never inspired that dream in her heart.
God is clearly for marriage, He designed it. God wants women to birth children, He told humanity to multiply and be fruitful.
Why do we tell folks who desire to be a best-selling author God didn’t inspire that dream necessarily. You can quickly discern when some speak what their heart motive is for WHY they want to do something and it will be apparent if someone’s dream is for their own sake or for Christ’s sake.
Granted, plenty of authors never become best-sellers in their lifetime or ever, but plenty more folks dreamed of writing a book and getting published but never did it. Having the intention to do something but never doing is just terrible and unChrist-like.
As believers, we need to follow through if we are able to do so, and yes, God can redirect our plans and even set us on a new course, but if what we do is for God’s glory and not our own and we are faithful to live out repentance and forgiveness, how often will we be in error? We see in scripture those who followed God, whatever they did, whatever they endured brought fame to Christ Jesus and they bore good fruit.
Bottom line, if you’re like me, who desires to be a best-selling published author. Finish your manuscript. Have your friends read it. Refine it into gold. Strive for the best deal and best route to publish your book, and for many folks that is indie publishing. Whether we ever become best-sellers or not is yet to be known, but in every step of our way trying to do so, let us honor the Lord and bring glory to His name.