Why Write, Anyway?
“Joy isn’t what happens when life is going perfectly; it’s what happens when you’re loved perfectly, even when life is a mess."
~ Chris Stefanick, The Search, # 4
Many people write books these days. It has never been easier—or harder—depending upon one’s frame of reference. I have often asked myself why I felt compelled to write Tangled Violets. It always boiled down to believing someone out there needed to hear its message. And that message requires reading to the very end of the book.
I anticipated that some of my readers would dislike (or be offended by) my novel because of its raw honesty and edginess. I was not wrong. Tangled Violets deals with gritty topics generally avoided in Christian fiction.
One reader told me that Tangled Violets provided the stimulus for her to deal with a log jam of shame that had clogged up her life for decades.
One reader told me that Tangled Violets provided the stimulus for her to deal with a log jam of shame that had clogged up her life for decades. After reading my novel, she elected to open up a sore, festering wound, expose it to the light, and let the healing begin. If my novel only helped that one individual, then Tangled Violets has served its purpose.
Shame is a dark prison that leaves one stuck, unable to move; it quenches the joy God created each of us to experience. Note, however, that shame is not the same as guilt.
I once heard someone say in jest, “The Jews invented guilt, and the Catholics perfected it.” The truth in the quote is not what it says but why we laugh. We laugh to hide our pain. Guilt is always unpleasant, and it hurts. Yet not all guilt is bad.
There is a difference between false guilt and true guilt. In false guilt, we carry a burden that was never ours to carry in the first place. Like shame, false guilt drains our joy and stifles our emotional and spiritual growth. But true guilt is the fruit of a properly formed conscience as the Holy Spirit nudges us forward to become the best version of ourselves, to ask forgiveness from God and our neighbor, and to make amends whenever possible.
True guilt is a helpful gift. Although never pleasant, true guilt is meant to spur us onward and upwards, jostling us into motion.
Life is messy, but it is the road we must travel. Let true guilt spur you on to greater joy.