I was recently journaling like I typically do - slanted scribbles, lined paper, intimate words. As I wrote, so much honesty was falling from my heart to the paper, and as the speed of my hand quickened in an attempt to keep up with the speed of thoughts being poured out, I suddenly felt so constrained.
I paused. And in the still of the pause I heard the Holy Spirit in a swift moment whisper, “No lines.”
I was quiet and I stopped writing. It was a simple thing, and I knew what Jesus was requesting. That I pick up a what’s new - and this time, no lines were to be on the pages.
For me, purchasing a new journal stretches far beyond a new material object. I see my life in seasons, and I mark seasons with journals. If the season’s changed, the journal does too. It’s demanded faith when I was writing a story of safety and Jesus was asking for a story of courage. It’s demanded intimacy when I was writing a story of busyness and Jesus was asking me to come back to the throne room and once again learn the words of His romance. It’s demanded courage when I was writing a story of joy but my truest heart was longing for the words that would define the aches of my heart so it may begin to heal.
You see, my journals are my seasons. And I prayed a radical prayer long ago that every season would be written by His hand and not my own. His divinely breathed poetry. I want its every bit. And I’ve learned it often leaves me without a say as I’m beckoned to his feet once again in pure and total surrender. And He was calling this one, “No lines.” And if He says it, I want it.
So no lines it was. In a shade of evergreen. Appropriately seasonal as fall draws near and a color I’m personally fond of for the prophetic weight in its name, to be ever green - a literal and beautiful picture of withstanding seasons and change and still remaining green. A color signifying sustaining life, and a lot of beauty even when it holds the snow that will inevitably fall. And not only is it evergreen, it’s line- less. Which I thought was a simple thing, however, the very reason I write tonight is to share that it is most certainly not.
I’ve come to learn line-less pages demand a bit of courage. There’s no starting point, no assistance in spacing or keeping things straight. They’re a loud invitation to throw perfection out the window, and they’re in a silent but deadly war with our habits of ritual and order. They invite creativity. The spaces and crevasses of our heart we perhaps didn’t know existed. They’ve awakened poetry within me. Words and lines and spacing falling together in a rhythm I’d never known before. They’ve invited me to draw. They’ve invited me to laugh after I draw. They’ve taught me sometimes one or two words suffice and are worthy of their own page - because sometimes simple love is stronger than an ego filled sentence.
Blank pages have completely awakened me. They’ve invited me into a season I keep referring to as the renaissance. A revival of a creative and vibrant heart. A reawakening of creativity within me I haven't felt Jesus breathe on since perhaps the 8th grade. And tonight, as I was pouring onto a line-less page, I was listening to piano versions of my favorite worship songs. In a moment the Holy Spirit deposited a thought within me. What if I sang? What if I, Kristie who can’t hold a note, sang to the instrumental version of this song? I laughed and felt uncomfortable even at the thought. And slightly embarrassed, which I’ve learned is still completely possible even when we’re alone with no one but Jesus to hear - because our ego doesn’t relent! But COME ON Jesus and take care of this ego, please.
So I did it. I pulled up lyrics, hit play, hit record on my phone for laughs just because, and nervously stumbled through a song that’s ministered to me for the last 2 years. A song I had never heard my voice sing. It was awful, horrendous, freeing, and captivating to my heart all in a moment. I love to sing, I just happen to sound a little worse than Adele. But you know what? I decided I'm going to try not to care. Because perfection is boring. Lines are boring. Restrained living is boring. We’re not made for it. We're made to abandon our ego for the sake of coming alive once more. We’re made to chase what doesn’t yet exist. We’re created for original poetry written by the Hand of Jesus for no other life than our own. We're made to dive head first into blank pages and instrumental songs and fill them with COURAGE and LIFE. And it demands our ego flees, our habits of comfort be wrecked, our worthiness and self confidence restored, and our willingness to stumble and laugh along the way for the sake of BOLDLY COMING ALIVE welcomed. So I bought the journal without lines. And I played the instrumental version so my voice may sing. I declared the renaissance will be ever green. And if Jesus titled it all, “No lines,” then I want its every bit. Every beautiful, courage demanding blank page and song, I want it all. And I hope you do too. I hope in a moment you pause and ask Jesus to show you where you’ve drawn the lines of comfort and safety. Ego and fear. And I hope you courageously ask Him to step in. To create line-less space where He may do what you couldn’t dream of. Where He may whisper, “No lines,” and propel you into the blank space designed and predestined to birth the miraculous. Your heart desires it. And I hope it learns to laugh through its stumbles along the way.