By Jenny Fulton
In 2014, I was contracted to write a book. I’d never written one before and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to or how good it would be. However, since it seemed God had presented the opportunity and desire, I determined to give it a chance and see it through to the end.
“Ok, Lord,” I said. “If I agree to write this book, I’m going to need Your help.”
I felt His presence and assurance that He would guide me, and so I embarked upon the journey.
With God assisting me in this new venture, the book should have been perfect, right?
But it was my first book.
I was a first-time author.
I’m apparently better with character development and dialogue than I am with descriptions.
And this was a fantasy book – a genre that generally relies more heavily upon vivid descriptions.
I’m not a grammarian.
And we didn’t hire an editor.
The book wasn’t perfect.
Even though we had multiple Beta Readers and had read through it multiple times to correct all the typos and inconsistencies, there were still mistakes.
The errors screamed out at me from the pages. I was so embarrassed. What kind of amateur author was I to have published a book with so many imperfections? What would people think of me and this book? Would they criticize us? Dismiss us?
I grew hesitant to share it with people and when I did, I felt the need to qualify my recommendation. “Well, I wrote this Christian youth fantasy book and I felt like God led me to write it, but, just so you know, it has a lot of mistakes because we didn’t hire an editor, so, just wanted to warn you before you pick it up.”
And then, slowly, I began to realize something.
To most people, the mistakes didn’t seem to matter. Sure, there were some who mentioned them in their review, but most of them focused on the story. They liked it!
And then came one of the most humbling moments of my life. The mother of a former student told me that because of my book, her daughter wanted to be baptized. Through this fantasy story about the High King’s love and quest to make Himself known, the love and truths of God had become real to her.
God used this imperfect book I’d written to draw one of His children to Him. Where I had grown to see only the imperfections, God had seen beauty.Tweet
The girl had seen Truth. She had drawn comfort from the knowledge that God is always with her.
The imperfections didn’t matter! What mattered was the heart and life in the story.
If God saw beauty and worth in this book, who was I to disagree? My perspective on it changed. I was no longer ashamed. Instead, I grew excited to share it with others – without the disclaimer.
“What do I write? Well, God guided and helped me write a youth fantasy book. It’s called The Quest for Hope and is about God’s love and the way He works with His people. It’s an exciting story with some really good spiritual truths. You should definitely check it out.”
From Fantasy to Reality
It didn’t take long for me to realize the lesson I learned with this book also applied to life.
I don’t have to be flawless for God to work in and through me. If I’m desiring to follow God with all my heart, desiring to grow into maturity in Him, then I don’t need to worry about my sins and imperfections, for God will help me deal with those as I grow. My mistakes won’t prevent Him from using me to share His love and truth with others. God knows we are human and will thus make mistakes. He doesn’t expect us to be flawless. Instead, He longs for us to have an open and receptive heart.
- But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(I Samuel 16:7, NASB)
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8, NASB)
- And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37, NASB)
- And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; (Acts 15:8, NASB)
The Bible is filled with examples of God using and working through the lives of imperfect people who, even in their deep desire to follow him, made mistakes.
- Noah drank himself into a naked stupor.
- Abraham was so afraid for his life he told high ranking officials that his wife was his sister – twice
- Abraham’s wife Sarah abused her servant when that servant was pregnant.
- Isaac played favorites with his twin sons and contributed to a fierce rivalry.
- Jacob lied to his father and wasn’t the greatest father himself.
- Moses killed a man.
- Rahab was a prostitute.
- Gideon was small and scared.
- Samson slept around and murdered people.
- David slept with another man’s wife and then killed the guy off after impregnating the woman.
While we may look at their sins and weaknesses and judge them unqualified, God looked at their heart and honored their deepest desires for Him. Although they sinned, they also changed and grew in their walk with God. Each of these people are listed in Hebrews 11 in what many believers like to call, “The Hall of Faith.”
Like my book, our lives are flawed, but those imperfections do not prevent God from shining His light and love through us to reach the hearts of others. Rather than fixate on and lament over the mistakes and other imperfections in our lives, let’s focus on the story God has given us to live out and share with those around us. Let’s rejoice in the fact that God is working in our lives and in the lives of others to draw us ever closer to Him.
*To read more about the beginning and development of my book, Invisible Battles: The Quest for Hope, check out this article.