Thursday, February 18, 2016

When God Makes You Custodian, by David Rawlings

I’ve just learned that I’m a custodian. Not in the usual way, where I’d be stunned to find I’m responsible for another mouth to feed or daunted by having to look after someone else’s property or estate.

I’m actually a custodian of an idea.

God has challenged me over the past few months to rethink the story I’m writing. Not in a structural sense, or by introducing a new character, or even by revealing to me a plot twist of which M. Night Shyamalan would be proud (although that would be nice.)

What He did was remind me of how the story started; that is, where it came from. When people ask me about my recently-completed manuscript (called “The God of Reality TV”, where reality TV clashes with church), I used to find myself telling them that the story “just came to me.” But is that the truth?

When I feel depleted on ideas and turn to God for direction or inspiration, I'm reminded that my story didn’t “just come to me,” it was sent, by Him. He entrusted me with the idea and expects me to carry it to fruition, with His help, of course.

Why did He send me my story? Because one day it might be the one thing that inspires people, comforts people, makes them laugh, or makes them think a little more deeply about life.

I now feel challenged to change my thinking; to resist the urge to charge off in my own direction because this is “my story.” Now that I’ve acknowledged I’m the custodian of an idea from God, it completely changes how I approach my writing.

Suddenly I’m accountable:

– For time. I hear a lot of writers talk about squeezing their writing into very busy schedules.  That was me, but I now view this differently. I’ve had to shuffle around my workload and clients, but I’m trying to invest more in my craft. After all, I’m looking after someone else’s property!

– For quality. I’m a copywriter by trade, writing for clients every day of every week. When my words are portraying people’s business or their livelihood, I am responsible for how I describe their work, their passion in life. So, now I'm more aware of the quality of my own writing, portraying God’s love, patience, and humor. It's no longer about fulfilling a word count so I can get the certificate from NaNoWriMo.

– For what I recognize as success. I’ve moved through that early writing phase of 'just knowing' I’ve got a best-seller on my hands and not understanding why people wouldn’t love it. But here’s where I’ve been challenged; if only five people buy my book and three of them turn their lives around or are inspired to repair a relationship, would I consider my book a success? I’ll put up my hand and admit that some days no, I wouldn’t. That thinking is slowly changing, as well.

I’m now writing as a custodian of God’s plan; nurturing His idea and writing for Him. When you’re writing for God, what do you feel accountable for? What is your greatest challenge?

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, David Rawlings is a father-of-three with his own copywriting business who reads everything within an arm’s reach.

He is published in the non-fiction arena and is now focused on writing contemporary Christian fiction. These stories explore God, people, 21st century church and our modern society with humor and a satirical eye. And, in order to have more time to write, he is currently trying to find an extra day in the week . . . without much success. You can follow David on his blog:


  1. Thank you, David. This is such a positive approach to writing in general!

  2. What a great way to look at our writing and the gift He's given us! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ooh... I like this "suddenly I'm accountable" approach. That means procrastination can't be seen as a bad habit that hurts only me. That's big. That really speaks to my heart. Thank you, David.

  4. David, it's wonderful when we receive such a revelation as it changes our perspective. What I particularly like about it is it's takes our focus off "me" and it's exciting to turn up to the blank (or to be edited) page with the notion that the Lord is right there with us guiding us as we write His idea(s).

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. I've mulled over these thoughts recently as well. In fact, I just blogged elsewhere about something similar so this really resonated with me. I like how you listed the ways you feel this new accountability. Very well articulated!