This week marks the beginning of a new school year for many students and, when I was young, it was a special time for me. A new school year signified new beginnings and fresh starts—and it came loaded with possibility.
It came down to this.
I love stationery, and I especially love new exercise books, journals and books of blank pages ready to receive my thoughts, ideas and doodlings.
At the beginning of the new school year I remember being armed with a whole swag of fresh, clean, unblemished exercise books, and I would be almost delirious with the promise of unlimited potential that lay ahead.
However, I would inevitably strike a problem—I would be reticent to start writing in my nice new books as I didn’t want to make a mistake in them and have some ugly crossing out to make my clean page look messy.
It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried, or how neatly I wrote, invariably there would be something that needed correction and that glorious moment of a fresh, clean start would burst, like a bubble popping when it touches the ground.
Now, I can see this has persisted into adulthood. How many times am I loath to start something fresh because of a fear of somehow mucking up? Or hold back from beginning anything because I’m worried that it won’t turn out perfectly? Or when looking back over my day, my week and my month, can, with hindsight, finally see the mistakes I’ve made?
Lovers of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables will remember our trouble-prone heroine who hoped every night that tomorrow would be a new day with no mistakes in it.
Fortunately for Anne and all of us, God allows fresh starts.
But what is even better is that he doesn’t make us wait until the start of the school year, or when we have filled our old exercise book and need to start a new one, to offer this new beginning.
In a small book of the Old Testament we find these beautiful verses: ‘The Lord loves us very much. So we haven’t been completely destroyed. His loving concern never fails. His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are!’ (Lamentations chapter 3, verses 22–23).
For me, that’s like being offered a brand-new book to use every new day.
My prayer is that you will fill your new book with pages of fresh creativity and blessings today, and in the days to come.