Come as You Are
By Grant P. Ferguson
Imagine a vaccine that will protect you from anything that might disrupt your creative flow—the injection will strengthen every fiber of your creative being.
If this vaccine existed, one that would cure self-doubt while eliminating the fear of failure, would you line up for the shot?
Good news: the cure is available!
I invite you to come as you are. Discover how your God-given creativity can make a difference.
Creating Early in Life
I can still see and feel the moment.
I’m only six years old and built like a fireplug. The teacher invited me up on stage to tell a story. My classmates encouraged me, so I told an imaginative yarn. After the applause died down (likely an embellished part of my memory), the teacher asked me to share another story the next day. I was marked as a storyteller.
That first-grade debut was my initial foray into public speaking. I loved every minute without any fear of failure or paralysis of self-doubt.
Falling Prey to Life’s Cautions
Roll forward fifteen years.
I’m in my twenties and about to receive recognition for suggesting a process improvement at work. The manager asked each employee to give a short presentation. When it came time for me to talk before the group, I froze. Trembling with fear, I mumbled a few words and sat down.
Now, with 20/20 hindsight, I can see how my life had changed since that first-grade experience. No longer a carefree kid, I had responsibilities—a wife, child, and mortgage. Life had pounced on me, infecting my brain with an assortment of worries—life’s cautions that impacted my thoughts, speech, and actions.
Today, that moment of embarrassment seems like a small speed bump on the road of life. But at the time, it was a significant emotional event.
Fortunately, the source of creativity did not come from my employer or even me.
Equipping Us to Create
God creates, it’s His nature, as emphasized in the first verse of Genesis:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Then, in verse 1:27:
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
It’s abundantly clear: not only is God the Creator, but He also made us in His image. The Lord’s creativity is woven into our being.
My choices can inhibit creativity; however, such decisions cannot remove the creativity that God placed within me.
Looking back, I can see how this God-given creativity along with my love of reading empowered me to solve problems. The urge to create coupled with the ability to read had given me what I now call my unfair competitive advantage.
And that’s why instilling a love of reading in young people is so important.
Changing Lives One Book at a Time
You might wonder:
What was the catalyst for developing an unfair competitive advantage?
I still remember pulling that slim green book from the top shelf, and for an under tall sixth grader, that was no small feat.
Within the pages of that little book, I explored a collection of short science fiction adventures. Each story took me to a different time and place. I met strange creatures; imagined and explored new worlds.
Because of that one book, I was hooked on reading. My reading habit propelled a long career, inspiring me to do more in life than I had asked for or even imagined (Ephesians 3:20).
Encouraging Middle Schoolers to Read
Writers can help young people gain access to this unfair competitive advantage.
That’s why I write fun books that encourage middle schoolers to read. I believe that if young people learn to enjoy reading, they’ll experience more opportunities to solve life’s challenges.
But writing stories for ages 8 to 12 requires much more than just imagination. Middle schoolers are intelligent and want, no, demand stories that rival the quality of those written for adults. Further, stories created for the middle grades must be fleshed out in believable ways and not come off as preaching.
I urge you to read the middle-grade book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. You’ll find many smart and articulate comments by young people. Also, you will find the opinions of their parents, making clear the need for more Christian writers willing to produce quality books.
Encouraging Writers to Write
Inspirational writers like C. S. Lewis and his friend, J. R. R. Tolkien, used their writing skills to influence children and adults with ageless Christian ideas. I certainly don’t pretend that I can write like Lewis or Tolkien, but I do acknowledge how much their efforts and lives have influenced my work, which helped me set quality benchmarks.
I study and try to apply kid-friendly techniques employed by engaging mystery authors, such as Raymond Chandler and Erle Stanley Gardner. And while I may have a long way to go before approaching anything near the desired results, I believe over time my efforts will engage youthful readers and help them learn how they can become problem solvers.
Accepting the Call
Reading is a skill that helps solve problems. That all-important-life skill enables readers to explore God’s Word.
As many have discovered through reading, the Lord’s generosity doesn’t stop with His gifts of grace, forgiveness, and salvation. Continued reading highlights and amplifies the certainty of restoration through Christ and an eternity with our Creator.
Accepting the call to write is not be easy. So, join with me in believing more can be accomplished through our lives than we’ve ever asked or even imagined.
Come as you are:
About Grant P. Ferguson
Grant is a former executive who now writes books that blend humor and mystery, creating fast-paced stories that include young heroes thrust into dangerous adventures with friends, robots, monsters, trolls, and even zombies. His characters show how people can still live out their full potential despite flaws and setbacks.
Grant and wife Dana, enjoy living in their restored 1906 building on the Main Street of Clifton, Texas. When he’s not walking his dog Rango or writing another action adventure, you might find Grant playing a hammered dulcimer or watching an old science fiction movie.
Click here to learn more about Grant and his books.