Living life in pencil

As a Type A/B (with more A than B tendencies), I like to have a good sense of what my day is going to include.  I maintain an organizer/planner so that I can stay on top of what’s to be done daily.

Thing is, God has an interesting way of turning my plans on their ear.   Something–or someone–always enters the day and upends my best laid plans!  

Work and nonwork commitments are so numerous and subject to last-minute change that I don’t even bother to write them in the organizer with a pen.  I’ve resorted to writing everything in pencil so that it can all hold, or erasing some items to make way for others.

With age–and maturity–I’m beginning to see how life is often lived in pencil.  Don’t get me wrong:  there are many primary situations that call for living by the pen, not by the pencil.  But so much of what we think is “pen material” really isn’t.  

We’ve all learned to live attached to so much material stuff, and even with thought patterns and spiritual traditions that we consider sacrosanct, that the idea of living with little attachment to things and this world, is straight up scary.  

I’ve been journeying through life with good friends who are going through that type of roller coaster ride in which nothing is written in pen anymore.  Every day is literally lived by grace.  And faith.  Nothing left to erase or add, and definitely no ink on the page.

It’s a zone in which you’re forced to lean wholeheartedly on God, or flail hopelessly in the darkness.

Jesus’s command to the 12 disciples as they went out in twos to evangelize comes to mind:  take nothing for your journey.  Can you imagine the adjustment they had to make to live in that state of suspended spiritual animation?

You know, change is the only thing that won’t change in life, other than God.  There’s a special blessing on flexibility that I want to savor.  Stability is necessary, but flexibility brings a dimension to life that cannot be manufactured or duplicated.

Think of some of the advantages of “pencil” living:

  • Creative and exciting challenges every day.
  • Thinking and living outside the box, or, better yet, discarding the box altogether.
  • The places you’ll go and the people you’ll see (for better or worse)!
  • Space seems to open up for new people, possibilities, and presents.

Are you living mostly in “pen” or in “pencil”?

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