Creating with God

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Allen Arnold
13 – Creating with God

How do you create in the deep places? When it feels as though your creativity is just…gone? In this engaging interview with Allen Arnold, one-time senior VP at Thomas Nelson and creativity expert, we explore that very question. And the answers just may surprise you!

Show Notes

How do you create with God without losing your mind?
It starts in the creative process, the step that most Christian writers skip. It is the whole interaction with God. When that step is skipped, it then becomes all about what we can do in our own strength, in our own creativity, by ourselves. That sets us up for being over whelmed, burned out, empty, and puts our validation in the wrong place. When we miss that foundational step, it really sets us up to lose our sanity and peace because we are trying to do something alone that we were never meant to do alone.

God doesn’t want us primarily to do things for Him, and He doesn’t primarily want us doing things about Him. What He most wants is us to do things with Him. And when we miss the with, we really start to lose the whole reason He gave us the gift to begin with.

Just like Moses said in the desert, “God, I don’t want to do this trip without you. If You are not going to be there, let’s call the whole thing off right now. I’m either with You or not at all.” As writers, that’s the posture our heart needs to have.

The deep places are the places that God has taken you in your life that is unique to you, that is unique to your story.  If you know your story, and learn the scars of your own story, that is the DNA of really whats there for you, and you alone, to pursue as a creative force.

Wisdom from John Eldridge: “Our enemy, the devil, will often attack us in our area of the greatest strength because he knows what we could become and he fears it.”

Our lives tell stories just like stories that an author would create. That’s why I love to invite listeners to examine their life, know the themes, know the scars and then talk with God, and listen to Him. Ask how is this converging together for my unique voice and my unique ability to tell a story. Not only will it bring healing to their personal story, but they will have breakthroughs to the story they are writing.

An Orphan Spirit
Everyone starts with an orphan spirit. Meaning we all, in a fallen world, somehow, deep down, have this belief that it’s all up to us, and that comes out in different ways. With an orphan spirit, either failure or success can breed a deeper orphan spirit. The only way to break that spirit is through understanding our identity as a son or daughter of God. A lot of believers believe God is great and powerful and almighty, but they’ve yet to discover what it’s like to have God as a Father and then as a son or daughter. When you are an orphan, you will always write alone, and when you are a son or daughter of God, you will never write alone.

Last Bit of Counsel:

Consecrate their writing and their creativity everyday with God. By consecrate, I mean everyday afresh give to God their gift, their writing, their storytelling ability. Give it as an offering.

Allen’s new book about the creative process with God is now available!

story of with

The Story of With: A Better way to Live, Love, and Create by Allen Arnold


We’d love to hear from you!

Has the enemy targeted your greatest strength? How did you defend against it?
Do you have an orphan spirit, or do you see yourself as a son or daughter?
What do you think about the idea of creating with God?


How do you create in the deep places?

How do you create when your creativity is just…gone?

Embrace the scars of your own story…and create like never before!


  1. Linda says:

    So loved this! I have admired Allen Arnold for a long time and his obvious heart for helping others find how God wants to work in their lives is truly an inspiration. Bless you for sharing. And I will share this as well!

  2. Thank you Karen, Erin and Allen for this rich podcast. Great stuff to ponder and talk to God about. I have a couple of thoughts that I’ve broken up into two threads. Here’s Part 1:
    • I don’t know if writing is my greatest strength, but I have been feeling like a “whack-a-mole writer” lately. For the last 2 years or so, whenever I’ve set goals for my writing or start to make good progress on my book, I’ve gotten hammered by major issues with my family and have had to put my writing on hold to address those issues. As a stay-at-home-mom, I’m the family shock absorber for both my family of origin and my own family – I have the time to help out, and God clearly has called me to be a wife & mom first. I get that. So the way I’m dealing with my writing getting cut is by surrendering my writing career to the Lord. I also try to stay close to Him through Bible study and regular quiet times, and I journal to keep myself writing about the daily battles I’m facing. I’m picking up my writing once again in preparation for a conference and would appreciate prayers to make progress and not get whacked again.

    • Karen Ball says:

      I’ve found, at times like this, that there’s often something God has for me to learn in the delay…something that will strengthen me as a writer or help me be more transparent and authentic. So whether that’s the case with you, or whether your situation is simply that life keeps happening, know that none of it surprises God. He has you–and your writing–in hand.

      • Thanks, Karen. That’s been my general feeling as well. At first I was very frustrated by it, but now I recognize it as God’s hand. Still, sometimes it’s hard to accept, but accept it I must. 😉

  3. Part 2:
    • Thanks for the reminder about the orphan spirit. I’ve heard Allen talk about this before and completely agree with the idea of co-creating with God. But I’ve always had trouble hearing from God when I ask Him about my writing. I hear Him okay with other stuff, but I get lots of silence when I ask about my book. Today, I used this podcast to enter into a quiet time with God. At first I got silence again. ;-( But I kept pressing in and then I asked God, “What’s hindering me from hearing You?” I sensed the hindrance was a family project I’m in charge of. I asked Him what the truth was about that family project, and sensed Him say He’s in charge of that, too, so I can let it go. So, I surrendered the project to Him and then . . . I actually heard from God about my writing! This was a mini-breakthrough for me. I asked God what some of the themes were in my book. Among other things, He said orphan spirit. Ha! 😉

    Great stuff. Thank you!

    • Erin Taylor Young says:

      Gabriela, I’m delighted about your breakthrough. I know the silence must have difficult. I’m praying you keep hearing what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.

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