Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Using Our Gifts for His Glory: Fanning the Flame

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Growing up, my mom would constantly pray that God would stir up the gifts and talents within my sisters and me. 

He has definitely answered that prayer. Not only has the desire to use our gifts increased, but the desire to use our gifts for His glory has increased as well.

If writing is your ministry platform, it is important to allow God to stir up the gifts within you. Because let's face it: Writing can become exhausting. There are times when we are tempted to procrastinate, tempted to write for our own pride, and even tempted to give up all together.

Keep in mind that if God has called you to write for Him, Satan is going to do everything he can to keep you from writing. This is why it is so important that we continue allowing God to fan the flame inside of us. 

If you feel a stirring inside of you that your writing desire is bigger than a hobby, it might be because God has called for you to write for Him rather than for pleasure. (Now, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to write Christian fiction. It is possible to write for God while writing books for the secular market.)

When I write, I can literally feel God’s presence. And that’s what enables me to type faster, to envision the scene that I am writing. It comes very fast for me, and it is such an exhilarating feeling. No, not just because I love to write--but because I have allowed God to use my gift for His glory.

For me, writing isn’t just work. It’s not only a hobby, either—it’s a moment that I get to share with God as He infuses His creativity through me and into my stories. It is not about me. I am only a vessel, an instrument used for God’s glory.

2 Timothy 1:6 says,
“This is why I remind you to keep using the gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. Now let it grow, as a small flame grows into a fire.

I believe that is what God wants us to do with the gifts He has entrusted us with. But how can we allow Him to fan our flame?

    ➙ Take time to be still in His presence. 

No distractions. No noise, other than worship music, if you would like. You could do this in the mornings, in the evenings, or just before you write. However, keep in mind that your time with God shouldn't just be about your writing. It should be about Him: surrendering all of yourself to Him, including your talents.

    ➙ Ask God to stir up the gifts and talents within you. 

As I mentioned above, God has answered this prayer tremendously for my family. Ask God to anoint your writing and let the flame grow, as mentioned in 2 Tim. 1:6.

    ➙ Allow God to direct you as you write.

Give Him control of the pen (or keyboard =) ). Don't try to write when you are anxious, not in the best mood, or are trying to rush. Also, keep in mind that your plan for the story might not be the same as God's. So be open to His Spirit and don't be afraid if He takes the story on a completely different route than the one you had in mind. You might just become surprised at the outcome, almost as if you were reading your story rather than writing it. =) 

    ➙ Continue to learn about the writing craft and write as much as possible. 

Don't do this just so you can complete a book ASAP, but because failing to use your gifts is a sin. 1 Corin. 4:2 states, "Now in this way those who are trusted with something valuable must show they are worthy of that trust." If you want God to use your writing to minister to others, then you must prove to Him that you are faithful.


The flame of writing might begin as just a small desire. For me, the flame began when I was three-years-old and had the desire to create things, write stories, and learn to read. That flame continued to grow throughout my childhood. Now that it has increased in size, it has spread and reached
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several people who have read Purple Moon.  

This is what happens when we give God our time, talents, and desires. This is what happens when we allow Him to work within us. The flame becomes a fire. And because of God’s anointing, it will spread, reaching the hearts of many.

I know that this is only the beginning of my writing career. Not because I believe that I am just so talented that I will continue to get book deals.

But because—once God has begun a fire, there is nothing, or no one, that can put it out.

"Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time."
~1 Peter 4:10 (MSG) 

    ✎ Do you hope to use your writing as a ministry, or simply for entertainment? Has God ever taken your story on a different route than the one you had expected?
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  1. I definitely want to use my writing as ministry. It took me awhile to realize that. I knew that I wanted to write, and wanted to write for God. But then people would talk about "what your purpose is" and I always felt mine fell short. They were going to be missionaries to Zambia and Kenya and I was going to be a writer. Then one girl gets up and says "I want to point out that your purpose can be anything God calls you to do. For example, I am called to be a wife and mother." Her proclamation was very inspiring.
    There has definitely been times where He has changed the direction of my story. One time two characters had to pretty much switch roles! I'm at least enough of a pantser/plotter combination that I don't get too bent out of shape about it.

    1. The girl who spoke with you is correct: if you have a desire to do something for God, then it does not matter how big or small it is. Think about it, Jesus was a carpenter. He wasn’t born into earthly royalty. Not to mention, he only had 12 followers! But did that stop him from doing what He knew God was calling Him to do? =) Look at Christian fiction authors such as Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. Their ministry has expanded tremendously over the years, and they have reached several people through their books. God can definitely do the same through you, Jacqueline. =) Thanks for commenting!

    2. When you put it that way, it is so simple! I think I would be happy if I could impact even one person through my writing.
      You have quite a way with words! I'm sure God will do the same with your ministry as well!
      Thanks for replying! :D

  2. I like the new blog design! This was very inspiring. Thank you. I definitely believe that my writing is meant to be a ministry rather than a from of entertainment. The novel I'm working on as well as the short story I'm writing have both taken different directions as I started plotting and figuring out what message I want to leave with my readers.

    1. Thanks, Ashley! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      The same thing happened with Purple Moon too actually. It was originally a completely different plot, then it continued evolving and evolving. The protagonist, Selena, was first a musician, but then she ended up being an artist instead. I know that was God’s doing, because that has played a very important role in Purple Moon. =) I’m sure that God will lead you in the right direction with your story as well. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thanks for this post, Tessa! I want God to write His stories through me, but I don't always take the time to let Him do that. This is an inspiration for me!

    By the way, how do you add a Pin It button to your posts. I've tried several methods but have been unsuccessful so far.

    1. You can go to and try to get an HTML for blogspot. However, for some reason, that hasn’t worked for me. So here’s what I do:
      1) Write “Pin it!” as the picture’s caption
      2) Publish the post
      3) Copy the URL of the post
      4) Go to Pinterest, click the + button, and click “Add from website”
      5) Paste the URL and click Pin
      6) Once you’ve created your pin, copy the URL
      7) Click “edit” on your blog post and paste the URL in a hyperlink for the “Pin it” captions

      Let me know if you have any questions!

    2. Thanks, Tessa! I finally got around to trying it, and it works! Unfortunately, it creates a whole new problem with my type size. So, I'll have to see if I can fix that.

  4. Thanks so much for that. It has really encouraged me to write more.

  5. Hi Tessa Emily,

    Thank you so much for posting this! I'm a writer as well, and I truly do believe that God has given me this talent to write and I try to always give HIM the glory for the stories He's given me to write. I want the books I write to be a ministry, as well as an enjoyment to others. The former being the most important.

    God bless!

    His Princess,

    1. I agree—I want my writing to be my ministry platform, however I don’t necessarily want to preach through them. I love to write because I simply like to create stories that people will enjoy. =) Thanks for your comment!

  6. Good thoughts here! I write secular stories for teens (YA), because I feel teens (and adults) need novels that aren't full of swearing, graphic violence, and other explicit things. We still can write entertaining stories without those things!

    1. I think that’s awesome. And I agree, we definitely need more clean books in the secular market, for teens especially. I hope to write YA and middle grade books in the secular market as well eventually. =) Thanks for commenting!

  7. I totally agree with you Tessa! I've been working on my book for a couple of months now but the story was just coming out flat. Then I decided to just give my story over to God, its His story after all. Without him I wouldn't have the ability or talent to write. Now it seems to me that the story is just coming out so much better! Thanks for the post Tessa!


  8. Thank you so much for sharing this, Tessa!!

  9. This is a great post. Sometimes I get so bogged down by discouragement or doubt, but I just KNOW that God has placed in my heart this desire to create stories. Thanks for tips (and encouragement) to fan the flames. ^^

  10. This is true. It is easy to forget Who we are writing for and why we are writing. A reminder, every day, is needed. Keeping our minds on God.

  11. Hey Tess!
    I completely agree don't let satan over power you. Here is a cool blog a close friend of mine wrote about overcoming some of his challenges with reading and writing.


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