Offering a Blank Page

Just now, my printer chokes and halts.  An orange warning light flickers.  A message alert flashes on my computer screen:  No paper. 

I find the stack of new paper, bend down to fill the printer, and suddenly realize something.  Looking at that new blank page warns me somehow.  It becomes a spiritual moment right here by the old printer.

I consider how only a blank page will produce a clear document.

I know this because I’ve accidentally put used paper in my printer that bore the marks of old essays, chapters from novels, or random printouts from various websites.  When you try to print on paper that’s already filled, the printer spits out gobbledygook.

You just can’t read words overlying other words or paragraphs imprinted atop other paragraphs.  (Gobbledygook really is a word.  It means meaningless, unintelligible, nonsense language.)

Only a blank page will do.  I realize I have a script for my life–words on the page I want–butI long for the willingness to hand God a blank page.  Trying to merge my own narrative onto the one He’s writing produces a kind of gobbledygook:  stress, meaninglessness, and chaos.  If only I might offer the blank page and let another Writer compose!

Journal:  Offering up a blank page seems very freeing, but also terrifying.  What script or story line do I need to clear from my life?


Fling Wide Your Gate

Today in church, the pastor challenges me to “open wide the gate of my heart” to God.   I know that verb.   Open.  It means to remove obstacles and allow the kind of passage that makes an interior fully accessible.

Remove obstacles.  Allow passage.  I ask God to show me any obstacles that keep me from flinging wide the gate.  Whatever fear, whatever doubt, I want to live a life that gives Jesus full access.

A closed gate seems like safety.  It seems like protection and control.  But God awaits as the ultimate Protector–the ultimate Safety–who rushes in when I fling wide the gate. 

People who live with flair demonstrate that kind of vulnerability and that kind of trust.  They’ve made their lives fully available to the purposes of God–no matter what the obstacle.  They know that’s the safest place.  That’s the place of protection, peace, and provision.

I’m flinging wide the gate.

Journal:  What obstacle keeps my gate shut?


If Nothing Changes, Then I Don’t Either

I hate change.  It makes me anxious. 

This morning at Saturday Morning Pancakes, my neighbor (the one who showed me the lady slipper orchid)  reminds me that when I feel anxious, it’s my opportunity to have faith

I look at her as if she’s just reminded me of my own name.  Of course.  It’s so simple.  When I’m anxious about anything, it’s a bright flashing neon sign saying:  Opportunity to Trust God Right Here!

I’m anxious because I have to travel.  I’m anxious because I have to leave my environment and live in another one for a while.

As I explain all these anxieties, a boy beside me suggests that if the environment never changes, then a person cannot grow and develop.  He explains it all using a video game analogy.  You’ve got to move around!  You’ve got to change things up! He tells me how good it is for my growth and imagination to have some change.

So this thing (whatever it is) that’s causing anxiety?  It’s an opportunity to trust God.  It’s putting me in an environment for growth.  If nothing changes, then I don’t either.  And I want to change and grow into the woman God wants me to be.  That means welcoming situations that stretch me. 

Journal: What’s causing anxiety in me, and how can I see this as an opportunity to trust and as an environment for growth?


Secret Agent Life

This morning, I read about how a businessman responds to a doctor’s order to go to a train station and “look for someone who needs help.” The doctor believed that if the businessman practiced doing something for another person every day, that man would begin to feel better about his life.

He did.  It worked.  

I wonder about the direction to “look for someone who needs help.” What if that mission shaped my day?    I wonder what it means to live a life that anticipates, on a daily basis, how I might serve another person.

Someone we’ll encounter today will need something (a hug, a word, a ride, a lunch), and what if God wanted to use us to meet that particular need?  What if each day we were on a special assignment to care for somebody in our path?   

But we will not know who, where, or when this person might appear.  We just know that it will, most certainly, happen.  So we keep our eyes open, waiting for our special assignment.

I tell God I’m available.  But I’m nervous–a little–about what shape the day will take.

The day transforms into an action-adventure film.  I’m the one scanning the train station platform, looking for the helpless.  But it’s not the train station; it’s my own street, my own neighborhood, my own office.   

I feel like a secret agent on a mission from God. I feel like this covert operation changes the focus, the purpose, and the meaning of what it means to be alive today. 

Living with flair means I’m available for secret missions to care for everyone and anyone, stranger or friend, who enters my life today. 

Journal:  Who was my special assignment today?