“That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being —Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” (Johns 4:23-24, The Message)
Once as an aspiring writer—still aspiring—a speaker set me free with the words, “just do you.” I struggled for years, not knowing what to write. After teaching Bible study for a long time, fiction seemed trite and unimportant, except it had been my go-to since childhood and probably contributed to my sanity more than anything else.
Those closest to me wonder about the sanity-part.
When I did decide on fiction, I didn’t know what genre to choose. So I went through the list. I don’t dislike Sci-fi, but not a huge fan either. Fantasy requires too much world-building. Much of Mystery/Suspense/Thriller involves guns and serial killers. Nope. Not there yet. No YA or children’s lit, although I enjoy it from time to time.
That left Romance. Who? Me? I have to admit, I didn’t have a high opinion of romance writing, but those are the only ideas that come together for me. The only books I’m able to write from start to finish are romances.
Then I realized that romance, along with a million other things, remains stereotyped and has a bad rap. Probably because there is a plethora of poorly written, bad stories out there.
But I write the kind of romance that I want to read. In other words, I “just do me.” Stories with truth infused through the pages. Light. Humorous. Fun.
If God is mainly interested in us being ourselves, and He is, then it’s perfectly acceptable for me to write romance. Especially since nothing else works.
On a larger scale, though, he wants me to “just do me” all the time. I don’t need to hide or put on a mask. I’m fine with the God who created the universe.
I check myself often to make sure what He says is fine … is fine with me.
By Mary Pat Johns
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