Have you ever tried to update something that was already good? Maybe it was a habit. Or a recipe. Or a friendship.
For me, making something good even better is possibly one of the hardest things.
As 2017 settles in, we’ve been updating some documents and marketing materials in our office. My boss and I have looked at each other many times at a loss for how to make it better. Because it was already good.
So, several times in the last week, we’ve made a radical decision. We’ve grabbed blank pieces of paper and started new.
It’s made all the difference.
My word for 2017 is create, rooted in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created…” To be made in the image of God is to reflect His creativity. To create habits, relationships and products that give glory to a Creator God.
Last year was full of so much good for me. But, as I reflect, i’m realizing how much it was also full of grief. Not of a person or even of a relationships, but of my life looking like everyone else’s.
Before you tell me how good I have it, or how much I have to be thankful for, or that I’m still young, please hear me say, “I know.”
I know that the relationships and experiences I have are only because of a faithful, all knowing God. But remember that just as the Christian life is rooted in contentment and gratitude, it’s also rooted in longing.
I sobbed guilty tears in 2016 because I couldn’t understand why in the midst of all the good, it didn’t always feel “right.” I’d guess that I wasn’t the only one.
Maybe it was influenced by weddings and houses and babies, but I also think it’s the reality of the Christian life. The world is not as it should be, and we feel it every day. Some days it’s a dull ache. Other days it’s an aching pain. It’s always going to be there to some degree, some seasons more than others. It’s a mark of the Christian life to long for the Kingdom come.
As the year has started, I’ve found myself thinking about Psalm 51, too, when David after he blows it big time – by committing adultery and then having the husband murdered – says, “Create a pure heart in me, O LORD…” I’m reminded in both Psalm 51 and Genesis 1 that it’s God who does the creating. From either nothing or something in desperate need or renewal, it’s God who does the work.
So as 2017 begins, I’m thinking of that blank piece of paper. And it’s overwhelming to be honest. A blank piece of paper doesn’t have structure or words or even a story yet. I’ve had to fight the urge to create the same thing, just changing a couple words and updating the photos. Fighting for something brand new though, it’s worth the effort.
I’ll keep thinking of that blank piece of paper. I’ll think of a Creator God who made something out of nothing. I’ll think of what it means to create a life in the midst of the longing.
I can’t create a life based on someone else’s.
I can’t create a life based on how it is, and then alter it to make it how I want it to be.
I have to start new. I have to let God create in and through me.