In late October of each year I begin the process of shopping around for a new planner. Sometimes I stick with what I’ve used that year and others I venture out into something new. Hard cover or soft, coil or a sewn binding, dated or undated, there are more than enough options to choose from. I appreciate those that come with pretty packaging, almost as though the company shares my anticipation for the new year. I’ve learned to be disciplined and wait for the perfect time to sit with my pretty pens and fill out birthdays and other important dates. Inevitably I make a mistake, mark a birthday on a wrong date or something along those lines and find myself wishing for disappearing ink.
Writing In Pencil
This year I am reading through a 365 Day Devotional book by Shauna Niequist, one of my favorite authors. In her book Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are, Shauna starts the devotion for March 10 with this reflection.
I should have written in pencil. I should have viewed the trajectory of my life as a mystery. I should have planned lightly, hypothetically, and used words like “maybe” and “possibly”. Instead, every chance I got, I wrote in Sharpie. I stood on my future, on what I knew, on the certainty of what life would hold for me, as thought it were rock.
Her words instantly struck a nerve. I too am a Sharpie, permanent ink kind of girl – declaring with urgency permanence in an uncertain world. And, so many times I find myself “whiting out” what I’d etched so precisely with ink in my planner.I am a Sharpie, permanent ink kind of girl - declaring with urgency permanence in an uncertain world. #MakingRoomForGod Click To Tweet
Always eager to plan for the next week, month and year, I find myself mapping out not just my day but entire quarters of my life. The blank spaces disappear and what once felt as an adventure and exercise in time and life management is now overwhelming. All this permanent ink leaves little room for spontaneity and even less for the Holy Spirit.
I know that I need to work harder at making room for God.
The ink, the calendar arranged 12 months in advance, assumes that what I know, what I have prepared for is all there is for me to do. What I’ve learned over my 42 years is that life rarely, if ever goes as I’ve planned it. Again, Shauna’s words:
Instead, it’s more like a magic carpet, a slippy-slide-wiggly thing, full of equal parts play and terror. The ground beneath my feet is lurching and breaking, and making way for an entirely new thing every time I look down, surprised once again by a future I couldn’t have predicted.
I’m going to start writing in pencil.
Disappearing Ink & Making Room for God
“I’m going to start writing in pencil.” This line provided a new set of marching orders for 2018. I am setting aside my gel pens and restricting my colorful felt pens to celebrating birthdays. Instead I am going to buy beautiful and fun pencils in all shades and colors. I am going to buy pencils with erasers.
Pencils with erasers that allow for change and embrace uncertainty. Pencils that comprehend the reality of a life lived for someone, something, other than myself.
Trusting God's plans over my own means being open to the unknown and the Holy Spirit's leading. #MakingRoomForGod Click To Tweet
Life with God at its core is about giving your life up to something bigger and more powerful. It’s saying at every turn that God knows better than we know, that his Spirit will leads in ways that we couldn’t have predicted. I have known that, but I haven’t really lived that.
Who among us have lived with knowing one thing in our heart and yet acted in another? Today is a new day and I pray that you, like me will also be challenged to start writing in pencil. It’s always a good time to start making room for God.