The Beauty (and Terror) of a Blank Page

Jan 4, 2011

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions.

Goals are fine. Planning for the future is wise. Even resolutions have their place. But why January 1st? I know, I know. Because it’s chic and fun. Because setting goals along with millions of others is the thing to do. And there IS something powerful about making changes with company. Giving up sugar is less likely to kill you when a couple good friends are doing it with you (as long as you don’t kill each other). Committing to run a marathon is more doable when a family member puts in the long hours of training alongside you (again, as long as you don’t kill each other). But often New Year’s resolutions are nothing more a faddish way to spend a national holiday. And the problem with fads is they’re long on hype and short on longevity.

At the same time, 2011 spreads like an a wide and deep expanse full of hidden unknowns. I think of it like a blank page to a writer, waiting to be filled with some yet-unknown story. It’s full of possibilities, with potential for beauty, grandeur and triumph. A white page can take on countless forms, and the wonder of it can make us giddy.

Thus we resolve to try and fill it well.

Until we attempt to live worthy of our resolutions and the words “beauty,” “grandeur,” and “triumph.” Then the white of life’s blank page becomes glaring, impenetrable, unnerving, and overwhelming. What if my best attempts fail? What if my enthusiasm fizzles after the first few weeks? What if my resolved attempts turn out less than magnificent? What if unknown circumstances interrupt my good intentions? What if life changes–or stops?–before December 31st writes those blessed words “The End?” What then?

Whether we’re talking a manuscript or a life, you’re standing on the doorstep of a blank page. Not because it’s the beginning of January, but because you’re the child of a God who makes each day a new one. Each morning you open your eyes to a blank page on which you can again resolve to direct the course of your story. It is true that at times you will fail–your resolutions will lose steam and fizzle. It is true that many circumstances will remain out of your control, regardless of how you attempt to manipulate them. And it is true that only One knows the exact moment your story will come to an end.

But if you have Jesus and you have today, you’re living a grace story. A story He died for you to tell.

Even with all those unknowns, the blank page doesn’t have to be intimidating. Because regardless of the plot twists and turns of your life in 2011, you can determine the voice you will tell it in. You can decide if your life will read with joy or fear. You get to choose whether your legacy is one of hope or regret. And ultimately you have the opportunity to tell the world about the Jesus who made your story one of beauty, grandeur and ultimate triumph.

Now that’s something worth resolving to.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17


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