The Thumbtack

Thumbtack Pic
Back before I got saved, I had something happen to me that still stands out to me years later, and I knew then, as surely as I know now, that even then…God was talking to me.

I have to give a little background before I get into sharing this particular incident. In school, I was good at a few things. I only had average or slightly below average performance in most of my subjects, but art, and writing, these were what I was best at, and my highest marks were in creative writing – but not from the get go. It took me until some time in 8th grade to determine the pattern that the teachers had in grading creative writing assignments…namely that, the grittier the better. Simple stories with happy endings would only garner average marks. The more extreme, dark, emotionally provoking, and raw the story, the better for when the grades came in. And when I started to steer my writing in this vein, all of a sudden my teacher thought I was a genius, praised my stories, and even read them out to the class, encouraging them to come up with stories more like I had written mine! Whether intentionally or not, these teachers are encouraging students to walk down paths of unrighteousness for a better grade’s sake.

As I moved on to high school my stories started getting darker and darker. More extreme. More violent. Every time I sat at the computer to write my thoughts were of how I could push the envelope further this time, how could I shock and emotionally provoke my reader (my teacher) into having empathy with my protagonist, how could I draw them into my dark little fantasy world and leave wanting to give me full marks.

I developed a real enjoyment of this writing, and it became addictive. It was my own private little world that I could control, when I had no control over my own life, no control over the bullying I experienced at school, no control over the tension at home. It was a quiet pursuit that I could hide away in my room and work at…but it wasn’t innocent. Violence, murder, intrigue, magic, fornication, and all kinds of evil flowed onto my written pages, inspired by Satan. Where did I pick up all of that evil except through mass media? Well, it wasn’t first hand experience. It was evil that I had viewed, through dirty books, secular movies, television shows, secular music and the accompanying music videos, magazines, and more. Satan used these things to corrupt my mind and heart, and then inspire me to write things that undoubtedly would serve to corrupt the hearts of potential readers.

By 10th Grade I’d written much. I had completed a manuscript of over 300 pages and a sequel was well under way. I’d written countless short stories, essays, and whatever else my Writing class called for. The over 300 page story became my big, end of year project, as I’d been working on it for most of that year. I printed it out, hole punched the pages and put those pages into a large binder, and handed it in to my teacher. I still remember the look of surprise on her face when she was handed this gigantic binder of a project. Her eyes lit right up and she said something to the effect of that she was really looking forward to reading it. Looking back on it now I wish I’d never written it. It was purely of Satan. It took place in ancient Egypt. It was rotten to the core with magic, violence, murder, war, and fornication. I’d even researched the occult, Satanic rituals that took place in that era and included them.

Some time after I finished high school, I started a new writing project. This was going to be the one, I told myself, this was going to be the story that got published and would make me my money. It was going to be a fictional take on Jack the Ripper, and by now my mind was so perverse I had confidence that I’d make this the most juicy Jack the Ripper story yet published. Only I got a few chapters written and then got writer’s block. Writer’s block was not a thing common to me. I was ‘blocked’ for days, and nothing would break it.

At one point I was sitting on my bed, and I noticed something that at that point I didn’t care about and hadn’t bothered with for a long time…the bible I was given at graduation. I was a messy person, and that bible was just carelessly on the floor. I felt the urge to pick it up. I hadn’t even looked at it for a long time but suddenly I wanted to open it up and read some. I retrieved it and sat on the bed again, and I noticed there was something lodged inside it’s pages. I opened it up to the place where this mysterious little object was and discovered a thumbtack. Somehow, this little thumbtack got into my bible at this particular spot, acting like a book mark. It was at the exact place as in the picture above, at Ephesians 5, and in the picture is the exact bible that was in my hand when this happened. My attention was drawn straight away to the verse just to the right of that thumbtack. I read…“coarse jokes – these are not for you”…and back tracked again to the beginning of that verse…and read:

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—
these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

Obscene stories…when I read this verse, I knew, I just knew, this was God talking to me, rebuking me. I shook. I got hot. I understood. This was why the writer’s block came. It was a gift from God. He didn’t want me writing these things, and considering I was planning on seriously trying to get THIS “obscene story” published, He decided to intervene and stop me – and I’m so thankful He did!

I read a little more, and what stood out was the following:

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—
these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person
will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God.
For a greedy person is an idolater,
worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins,
for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.

Don’t participate in the things these people do.

Ephesians 5:4-7

After reading these words, I knew I had to act. I jumped off my bed and got onto my computer, and I deleted all the files of stories I’d written. And though I was very shaken up by the experience, I was relieved when I deleted those stories. I knew I had to be rid of them, and after that moment, I no longer wanted them. I only regret that I didn’t surrender fully to Jesus then, at that moment! He had to “get on my case” even more, first.

But I have not written fiction since that time, nor shall I take it up again. Satan wanted to take the talent for writing that the Lord gave me and use it for evil, but I’m going to let the Lord use it for good. I will, as the bible says, “give glory to God by telling the truth.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *