There is something of great release which comes when you can finally let go of the fear of keeping the pages of your life so tightly shut - for in the opening of the pages, the "editing" can begin. As a writer, one of the things I sometimes find the most difficult is to edit "out" content - but the pages are made the richer then I do. Our lives are the same way - when we allow God to edit out some of the content which really doesn't lend to our lives, we find the thing produced is much closer to what the "author" intends to say with our lives!
God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. (Psalm 18:20-24 MSG)
Mankind has a tendency to hold all the pieces close to the breast, so to speak. I think it may be to avoid exposure at times - the pieces revealing bits and pieces of who we really are rather than the "made up" image we portray. At other times, I think we let go of the pieces we think we don't handle so well, giving up part of the control, but holding back on other parts because we think we are doing pretty well with those parts. You know - when someone else reads what I write, they often seek clarification of what it is I was intending to say! The truth is - I don't always "display" what I think I should be display and I don't always have a much in control as I think I do!
The editing process can be a little challenging at times because giving over something you think you have done your best with and having those examining eyes find opportunities for improvement (edits) can crush your ego. Maybe that is why God does the "editing" of our lives - because he knows as long as we hold all the pages tight to the breast, we don't see the opportunities for improvement which help to define what our "book" is all about. Our passage today deals with a couple of interesting points:
* When we finally let go of the pieces (the pages), the editing is free to begin. You see, the edits don't remove content which lends to the finished product, just the stuff which won't! We don't get the benefit of the editing until we submit to the process - we have to let go of the pieces - giving them over to God, allowing him to sort them out, determining what order the should take, and then he sets about the "editing" process.
* Editing is all about fresh starts. Handing over the pieces of our lives is not about "cutting this out" or "striking this". It is about God giving us the ability for a fresh start - putting our lives into the right order - determining the best content for our lives. Fresh starts are really an opportunity to start from scratch, aren't they? When we hand over the pages of our lives, there will be some chapters which need a total rewrite! This is the idea of a fresh start - we don't have to settle for the old content - we can allow the new pages to be written which will substitute for what once occupied that space!
* The process of writing involves a whole lot of "research". A writer gets to know their subject pretty well - otherwise the content of the book is pretty bland, not very believable, and really doesn't accomplish much. Our psalmist reminds us of this "getting to know our subject" process - in the daily time spent getting to know the subject of our live's pages! Believe it or not, our live's pages are not about US - they are about Jesus IN us. Getting to know the subject can often result in the "editing out" of some of the content - replacing it with the "better" content!
* The best editor never reduces the book to nothing - he adds to it, takes away from it, but he doesn't just throw it out! He may have to work a lot to get the pages to reflect the proper order, best content, and ease of readability, but it is in all this work where the pages reflect the intended purpose of the book. Some pages may be sacrificed - but they didn't belong in the first place. Remember - it is not in the number of pages that we judge the merit of the book, but in the content of the pages which remain!
So, rather than resisting the editing process, we need to learn to embrace it. The discomfort of turning over the pages to the one who knows best what needs to stay and what has no place any longer only results in a better finished product. Just sayin!