Day 1: A Blank Page
Another new year already? A new decade? Crazy stuff, y'all. I bet you've already read a lot of blog posts, inspiring quotes, and things of that nature talking about having 20/20 vision for this new year. Nothing wrong with that, I love a good play on words myself and all about having a clear vision. But as we start this years' January devotional, I felt the Lord guiding me to start with something different from what your vision is, your goals, resolutions, etc. While those are all great things, I personally want to take some time first to be grateful for and accepting of the blank page before me.
Every new year is a new year to try again, work towards goals, live your life, yada yada, as is every single day you are blessed to simply wake up. Every moment is an opportunity. All the things you already know. But maybe this new year has got you feeling a bit down. Sometimes a new year is a reminder to people of the time that is quickly passing, maybe how far behind they feel in life, some may even feel despair over a new year, a year they thought would look differently walking into it. Whatever your feelings coming into 2020 is, rest in knowing this... every day of your life is a blank page. And a blank page is an invitation.
Invitations can feel just what their root word suggests-- inviting. Sometimes they can be intimidating. Other times they are just overwhelming yet exciting and nerve-rattling. And, if you're like me, when you receive an invitation you may be a bit hesitant at first (introvert probs) because you aren't sure what's on the other side of the invite.
Kinda like life, right? Kinda like new seasons? Stepping out of our comfort zones, into the unknown, taking leaps of faith? Even creating in the quiet and unseen places can be scary when you don't know what is going to come of it if you were to share it. Well, I got to admit, I've been so guilty of looking at the blank page before me so many times, being filled with so many colors and wonders bolting through my mind and spirit, but when it comes to picking up the pen, the paintbrush, whatever your metaphorical creative utensil is, I would freeze. "Maybe keeping these dreams inside would be safer... Maybe just talking about them here and there and hoping for an opportunity to pass me by is enough because putting the paint to the brush and the brush to the page seems a bit too tough, a bit too painful when I've tried time and again and gotten hurt or rejected... Or maybe I'll just try really, really hard, hustle and bustle till I'm falling apart... maybe then I'll feel like my life is falling into place?"
God shook me with something the last few days though. Living in such a self-motivating world, we seem to forget Who our true source of life, strength, purpose, love is. We see the openness before us as a chance to "hustle hard" and be our own boss, working our emotions, minds, fingers, even our souls down to the nub trying to accomplish all the things that we think make us "worthy". What an exhausting cycle! Or we just give up altogether and live life as risk-less as possible. Not a great way to "live" either. But maybe, just maybe if we considered Who is giving the invitation of the blank page before us is, we wouldn't be so hung up on how to do it all on our own and what the outcomes may be.
If you are no good at metaphorical speak then you probably aren't tracking with me so let me try to be a bit more clear. God has invited you to create with Him, grow with Him, have purpose with Him. God has set a blank, clean slate by His grace before us to do the things He has called us to do and to wildly and freely run into His heart with arms wide open and a lot of times we just kinda look at the invite, give a shrug, then tuck it away under the other matters of life. How sad.
God, a Lover to the core, invites us on a journey into the unknown (to us, but not to Him-- nothing is unknown to Him) with Him, to hear His heart for us and all His children, to understand the passions He has put in us and for what purpose, and we say "yeah, thanks God, that's nice and all but I think I'll just work my butt off to accomplish the things I wanna do in life (as if my purpose is making things happen on my own). I mean, I know You're God and all and can do anything, but I think I got this." Dang. How many times have I done this?
Nothing wrong with working hard, we should in fact ("Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..." Colossians 3:23). But have we forgotten who our Master is? And have we taken the matters of our purpose into our own hands and made a god out of it? Made a god out of progress and man-made goals? I am asking all these things for my own sake as well. For the past 2 years, I've felt the urge to write a book. I started it then froze and didn't get back to it till around November or so of this past year and had this panic feeling of "I have to get this done before the new year!" when God said, "Hey, who told you that? Who set a timeline before you saying when and how you have to get it done and for what purpose?" In my rushing and trying to do things on my own, I missed God's voice, my writing was skewed and all over the place, I felt panicked and anxious... I was missing the opportunity of creating with the Creator. And I am ever so grateful He stopped me, told me to slow down, and has begun showing me just how sweet it is to work with the Master Artist (I mean, He created the whole world, galaxies unknown to us, atoms, every. single. thing. I cannot think of anyone more qualified to teach me to create than Him)!
Whatever your goals may be for 2020, I pray you stop before you rush into everything. Goals and vision are good and necessary, but let's take some time first to recognize Who so graciously gave us the clean slate before us and let's ask ourselves "Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? And Who am I doing this with?"
A blank page is an invitation. The Creator sets the page before you, opening one hand with a paintbrush for you and one for Himself, eagerly awaiting your response... will you reject His invite to make something new with Him, or will you take matters into your own hands? How are you going to respond to such an invitation from God Himself today, friend? I pray you accept this invitation with gratitude and expectancy, for He has good plans for you, child, far beyond any resolution.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19
"Call out to me, and I will answer you — I will tell you great things, hidden things of which you are unaware." Jeremiah 33:3