My brother and I didn’t grow up watching Saturday morning cartoons and playing Nintendo all day like a lot of kids. We were homeschooled, so our mom was our primary teacher. And since she was a bookworm from her days as a kid on a farm, she made sure we discovered the world of books when we were young. I don’t even have enough book shelves for all the books I own anymore!
Reading someone else’s books was great, but I soon discovered how fun it was to write my own. So as a kid I took folded pieces of writing and construction paper and wrote my own stories – complete with illustrations by yours truly! (Scary to think that at one time I thought they were good!) My brother and I even came up with our own “publishing company” that we dubbed “Heider Incorporated” with a logo to boot. None of our creations made it to bookstore shelves, though. But, hey, ya gotta start somewhere . . .
As I reflected the other day on my past fiction plots, I saw a common theme. I wrote a short story in grade school, Why China, about a girl who went with her family as missionaries to Asia. Under His Wings, a historical fiction novel, came while I was in high school. It was about another girl who spent her summer volunteering away from home at an orphanage. Just before going off to Bible school, I wrote A Miner’s Will, another historical fiction novel based on the life of a missionary’s daughter. Looking at those books, you would think that my heart was set on missions work in other countries. But in reality, it was the furthest thing from my mind. In fact, doing something so adventurous scared me!
I’ve known for years that I would be in full time ministry, but while writing those stories, I didn’t really know what I was called to do with my life. So while I considered my past written works, I wondered, “Why would I so consistently choose ministry plots?” The answer came to me in Luke 6:45:
“ A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
God chose the assignments for our lives before we were ever born (Jeremiah 1:5). He has placed in each of our hearts that call, regardless of whether we know or understand it with our minds. I may not have known why I wrote the stories I did, but deep down inside me, there was a call from God that was aching to become real. The creativity was influenced by my Spirit, not my head.
I have heard it said that the heart of an artist is in his creativity. The heart of a musician is in his music. The heart of a preacher is in his preaching. And the heart of a writer is in his writing. Whatever is inside a person is going to decide what is going to come out. Whether good or bad, our actions are going to be colored by the greatest desires and convictions of our hearts. But when a heart is submitted to God, those actions will be nothing but an eloquent masterpiece.