Twelve years ago, I left my career as a corporate writer and editor to stay home with my second child. I tried to keep my hand in my writing field, but my attempts were infrequent at best. Little did I know that 12 years later, I would find myself single after 25 years.
Going out on my own, I realized I would have to hit the ground either feet first or face first because I needed to bring in a significant income. I had been out of corporate America so long that corporate communications people would take one look at my resume and have a good snort, then file it in the circular file. I would have to either take a $10 an hour job at Starbucks or Walmart, or peddle my trade of writing as a freelancer.
Fortunately, I have known for many years that my writing is not simply a trade that I’ve chosen, but a gift given to me, straight from the hand of God. So I knew that God would bless my writing if I had the faith to pursue it and trust Him.
This is not to say that because we trust God, He will automatically drop freelance jobs—or any other jobs—into our laps immediately. That wouldn’t make it a faith thing, would it? He often gives us a dry period to see exactly how much faith we have, and how much effort we’ll put into what we’re pursuing.
For me, when I began this freelance journey back in November, the jobs were scant. When I gained an immediate client, I thought, “Wow, this is easier than I thought!” then hit the skids without any work after that for nearly two months. I then garnered a client who began to give me semi-regular work, but it became apparent that the kind of work I was doing for this client wasn’t what God would approve of.
I can’t speak at great length about the kind of writing I was doing because I’ve signed a nondisclosure agreement with my client. Let me say simply that part of it is deceptive advertising.
The first time I realized I was being asked to write deceptive advertising—I didn’t have the product in hand and was going from information provided to me by the client—I began to feel uneasy. The Holy Spirit was speaking to me. I turned it over in my head, but rationalized it by thinking that I was simply working for the client, and if they wanted to mislead people, well, that was their business.
But recently, my client and I had a phone conversation in which she told me she’d like me to do more work for them. I was thrilled and believed God was blessing me with more work. However, as the conversation progressed, I talked to her about my discomfort with writing deceptive copy. She said she had wrestled with that for a long time herself, but finally rationalized that it put food on the table for her family, and that was good enough for her.
The Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart, and I knew I had come to a crossroads. I had developed a great relationship with this client, and she had told me a few months before that she did tarot card reading. I had begun praying for her, and had recently sent my book to her. She had received it and said she was excited to read it. This was my opportunity to witness to her and exhibit my faith.
I told her I would think and pray about writing the deceptive copy. That afternoon and evening as I turned it over in my head, God made it clear that He was not bringing me “more work” but rather testing me to see how I would respond. With clear resolve, I sent my client an email and told her that I couldn’t write for her anymore because pleasing God was more important to me than making money. She was my best client, giving me the most work, and consistent 5-star ratings. It was a sacrifice. But when I sent that email, I had an amazing peace. I knew God would honor my choice, and bring me other work that would not conflict with my principles.
My client never responded. That was nearly two weeks ago, yet I know in my heart that God is working in hers. As Christians, we are the only Bible some people will ever read, so we need to be clear reflections of God’s word to our world.
I wish I had stood up and said “no” the first time I felt the call of the Holy Spirit while writing the copy, but that’s where His grace comes in. He can still work through us even when we sin.
Please pray for my client. God knows her name.