Walking down the aisles at Target and Walmart, bombarded by the endless array of school supplies is a reminder of a new school year approaching. Summer is taking her final few breaths, and Fall is about to be born. There is nothing more symbolic of a fresh start than a brand new box of crayons. We hate to even use them; They are so beautiful and perfect! And similar to a fresh start, we don't want to mess them up.
Some fresh starts are predictable: New school year, New Year's Eve, a blank canvas ready to be painted. We can prepare for them.
BUT some fresh starts are forced upon us unexpectedly, in sometimes painful ways. We aren't prepared. We stall and hold back and stay stuck because it was not part of our plan. We aren't even sure what to do next.
These are the hardest ones. In many cases, we feel like we have to tie up the loose ends from the past and make everything right before stepping out. We ask ourselves, "How can I make a fresh start? I'm such a mess. Everything is so complicated. I've made too many mistakes. I feel like a failure. I've got to fix this first...fix ME first."
Bob Goff said:
Here is the good news: You are not disqualified from new and from fresh starts because of old places and old, maybe half way mended wounds. Fresh starts don't require healed hearts and minds. It does require bravery and courage to step out in the midst of it. To trust again. To start over with your kids after you lost your temper. To move to a new town. Take that new job. To love again. To start that new project. To go for that dream one more time. Because it is not your job to make all things new. It's God's job. He's just asking us to step out. Even if your box of crayons looks like this:
This is a good sign. It means you have taken risks, made art, added color to this sometimes ugly world, tried new things, failed some, and made a mess. But, it also means you are LIVING LIFE. So while we can admire a fresh box of crayons all day, they mean nothing if we are not taking them out of the box and using them.
I type these things and pray I have the bravery to carry out what spills across this keyboard. There are days I do not feel brave. Days I don't want to mess up my box of new crayons. OR, I'm so discougaged by the horrible shape my crayons are in, that I feel stuck. I want things comfortable and pretty. May we all have the courage to take fresh starts as they come, both the predictable and unpredictable, and may we not be afraid to use those crayons, color outside the lines, and really live.