The blank white ‘sheet’ I’ve been staring at on my laptop screen, courtesy of Microsoft Word, is a pretty good metaphor for my life at the moment.
The cursor flashes persistently, prompting me to write something. I guess I must want to write something or I wouldn’t have opened the programme.
A few days ago I’d written something else, you see – a kind of past-to-present narrative which I actually found quite hard to read back. It probably needed to be written so that I could properly process the past twelve months and longer, but where was the hope in it?
It’s more exciting, I think, to start at the present and look forwards.
So, let’s jump right in – I just quit my job, with no job to walk into.
To be a bit pedantic, my contract was coming to an end and I chose, months ago, not to renew it. I guess that’s not quite the same as just quitting, but the result turned out to be the same – a blank sheet.
I like that the Bible uses writing symbolism to describe how God designs our lives – “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). I’m a ‘story’ person. I love the idea that God writes our stories, when we surrender our preconceptions of what we think our lives should look like. Or what other people think our lives should look like.
The joy and wonder that comes with walking out that story is accompanied by questioning and uncertainty and a lot of ‘Why, God?’ There’s definitely been a lot of that during the past two years since leaving university, but whilst I struggled and questioned and walked through various challenges, I was building something here in London; this city I love and loathe in fairly equal measure.
I’m not starting a new book; I’m not upending my life as I have in the past (and I’m thankful for that). It’s just, to fall back on that well-used cliché, a new chapter.
As much as I enjoy story metaphors, I’m also fond of arty ones. Like “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
Maybe it’s because this week I’ve had time to draw and paint again but I just love this. Our very lives are works of art.
Quitting my job was a risk but it gives God room to throw colour all over a blank canvas and lead me into the next chapter (yes, I’m mixing my metaphors now. I can mix if I want to. To my creative-leaning mind, I find it hard to separate words from colour and line).
Is it scary? Heck yes it is. Will I be able to pay my rent next month? That remains to be seen.
God spoke to me recently about throwing me out of the nest, so I’d learn to use the wings I was born with.
(Is this too many metaphors? I do feel a bit like a baby bird or something at the moment though, to be honest).
The point, though, is that if God promises you that you can fly, you’d better believe it.
So here’s to blank sheets.