One of my big passions is writing, creative writing to be more specific. I generally prefer a mix of fantasy and science fiction. However, as I've gone deeper into my Orthodox catechumenate, I'm having some problems. Let me be more specific;
As many who have converted to Orthodoxy know, when you are beginning, the Devil often tries to discourage you through all sorts of means. For me personally, it was a combination of trying to make me doubt Orthodoxy, trying to make me think that venerating icons was bad, trying to force me into a super-strict prayer routine to tire me about, afflicting me with physical ailments, and making me think that I was too sinful for Orthodoxy. A while ago, it would feel like my brain was on fire when I went to venerate an icon of Christ.
Getting to my writing, when this stuff was at its peak, whenever I went to write, I would get this feeling telling me that I was insulting Christ with my work, and that I was disobeying God's plan for me by trying to write my stories. These feelings were harsh, brutal, and cruel, and gave me the same sense of misery and hopelessness as the Devil's other attacks against me; I got very little feeling of God's love. As these attacks have worn down, I went back and finished and submitted a story for publication. But as I went back to write some more, I was afflicted again. As soon as I went to write, I would get these sensations telling me that I should listen to music, go for a walk, even go visit certain harmful websites; anything except do my writing. I know full well that God does not torture people like this, but there's more to it.
My mother was and still is a big pacifist, and when I was young, she tried to shield me from a great deal of media that she felt to be too violent. Maybe it was a big excessive on her part, but she instilled good values in me. As I grew older, I began to play more violent games and watch violent movies (I'm a big fan of the Aliens, Predator, and Terminator series'). I never became a violent person (there is a dark side in me, but it's been there since I was little) and I still continued to value pacifism, at least in a theoretical sense.
Flash forward to today; while my stories don't revel in gore and violence just for the sake of it, they are violent on the level of maybe Star Wars, possibly The Terminator. More and more, I had this attack of conscience that simply writing stories with violence in them was promoting evil in the world and bad values, regardless of the context of the violence. I do not know if this is God talking to me, my own conscience talking to me, or just some of my inbuilt neuroses manifesting themselves. I talked to my priest about this and he said that negative topics such as violence and sex are all in how you use them. If you revel in nihilism and destruction, that's bad, but if you portray violence as negative, then it's alright. I mentioned to him how Tolkien, a devout Christian, had a great deal of violence in his books, and my priest seemed to see nothing wrong in those books. Still, these feelings have continued.
Back when I was suffering from my own form of demonic oppression, I did not know that they were demons but thought that it was God who was bearing down on me so harshly. My priest later told me that that is not how God works; God is a God of peace, not oppression and fear. He lets us follow Him or not, He doesn't drag us along unwillingly. Yet, at the time, I did not know that. It was probably the whole Catholic guilt thing that at least partially made me think that the oppressive spirit that wanted to punish me for every little thing that I did wrong (or at least that the spirit thought was wrong) was actually God, but regardless, on at least one occasion, I lashed back and essentially said in my mind "Leave me alone God! I'm not following your oppressive path regardless of what you want!" Now, since that wasn't actually God, I didn't really directly reject Him, but now I feel like I've found myself in a spiritual Catch 22. I know that rejecting what a demon wants you to do is right and proper, but at the time, I explicitly aimed my vitriol at God. Now, I feel that if I do writing, I'm implicitly going against God because of what I said/thought. I spat in God's face and showed that I was willing to defy Him, thus playing directly into Satan's hands. I don't know what to do.
Tonight, I went to try to write and it was like a swarm of bats came into my head, trying to get me to do something else. Again, I know that this is not how God operates. But while talking to my priest, he said that if one rejects God's Will, they are letting in a negative spirit. I am wondering; am I being defiant in continuing to write and thus letting the Devil into my life, or is Satan trying to dissuade me from writing by assaulting me to try to make me miserable? This whole thing has made me sad and confused and has hurt my spiritual growth.
As I've become more Orthodox, I've given up some things like certain music, certain ways of thinking, and certain behaviors, and I think that little by little, I am being changed by God's grace. I've come to learn that God is not the micro-manager that I thought of Him for years as, but someone who loves you and wants to gently and subtly guide you on the path to salvation. But when it comes to my writing, I've hit a stumbling block. If God wants me to give it up, then I'll do it. But the way that it feels like I'm being pushed into giving it up does not seem like Christ's way at all, but more like the tactics that the demons used to keep me away from Orthodoxy. Still, there's the addition of my conscience attack concerning violence. Christ gave people a choice if they wanted to follow Him or not; He did not beat them over the head or drag them through the mud to make them follow Him. Sometimes, even when I consider going to write, it's like a heavy blanket is placed over my brain to try to smother my creative energy. My writing is something that I truly love to do, and the stories that I write have positive messages about perseverance and doing the right thing. Indeed, I plan to incorporate both subtle and blatant Orthodox Christian elements (Orthodox science fiction; now that would be something new). Is this God's Will, my own neuroses, or is Satan tormenting me? I am praying about it, but it's really getting me down.