I love the possibilities that lie in a blank sheet of paper. I have always been a writer. I suppose it began with the gift of a pink diary with a lock on it that I managed to hide from my nosy sister. Sitting alone in the branch of a tree, it became my way of processing the weavings of my life, making sense out of the confusion, giving voice to my own thoughts, remembering the small triumphs of the day. In short, it fed my soul. It still does.
Last week, I opened up a brand-new journal/planner anxious to begin a fresh voyage of discovery. Like many of you, my life had taken on some serious sameness. Each day slid into the next without a sense of focus. Before this year, I lived and breathed by priorities and goals and plans, but this pandemic shifted it all. While I still did many of the things I had once loved, they had a very different look. Pastoral ministry became phone calls, letters, emails, and Zoom meetings, minus the hugs and sense of connection I love. In conversations we would laugh when we asked each other what was new when we knew that the answer was “Everything is about the same as yesterday.” It was becoming too easy to settle into a RID (Restless, Irritable, Discontent) mindset. I was beginning to feel un-moored and un-centered, ready for God to do a new thing in my soul.
So, I needed a new way of engaging my life. Enter my new journal. Every day is a blank slate, ready for me to fill with hopes, dreams, and plans. What will I fill it with? It is far too tempting to fill it with the frustrations that wear me down, or the annoyances that have wormed their way into my mind. This time, I want to use the blank page to consider how to craft a more positive way of living in these days.
Here are some of the prompts I am answering each day.
- My priorities today are. . .
- I am grateful for. . .
- I am looking forward to. . .
- Ways I can give today. . .
- Highlights of the day. . .
- I was at my best when. . .
- I felt unrest when. . .
- One way I can improve tomorrow. . .
I have one week completed in my new journal. I am finding that each day is brand new now, fresh with possibility — if I can simply set my mind on the paths that lie in front of me, trusting God to lead my way.
For all those feeling un-moored, unsettled, restless, and un-centered
O Lord of new beginnings, as we open the pages of a new chapter in our lives, we ask you to guide our way. We come hoping for the possibility of a fresh start in our spiritual lives. Lead us in ways that might draw us closer to you and in ways that empower us to touch others with the overflow of your grace. Let this be the time when we dare to invite you to sweep through our souls, revealing the best of who we are, while gently blowing the chaff away. In the ways of Jesus. Amen.