This page intentionally left blank.
I was so tempted to submit this article with just the empty page and leave everyone guessing, but I think an explanation is probably in order.
Have you ever wondered why documents have blank pages with the words “This page is intentionally left blank,” on them? You have probably seen it before. Those pages are in the owner’s manual of a product you may have purchased or in a legal document you had to sign. I just don’t understand why they have to explain it.
If I run across a blank page, I go to the next one with text on it. Are there people who stop at the void and don’t know what to do? If they attempt to cross the emptiness, do they think they will fall in? Are they afraid that if there is a blank, then they might be missing something?
I’m sure these companies, who print the blank pages, have had people ask customer service if it was a misprint. To avoid the confusion they decided to print that line on the page to free up the telephone lines and stop the incessant questions.
You know what they say about empty space. It’s like a vacuum. It will always fill up. I guess our imagination fills up the blank page with something we think we need or missed.
God sometimes leaves pages intentionally blank. Our lives are so full of busyness and noise—both important and unimportant. There is very little room for empty space to think or even breathe. In a world of multitasking, productivity driven expectations, we rarely pause, except for the long red light at an annoying intersection.
The truth is, we need moments of quiet.
We need space to listen, to rest, to reflect. Ever try to look at your reflection in a body of water. You can’t see it unless the water is perfectly still. Maybe God is creating an empty place for you to see a better picture of yourself. Our cluttered thoughts often leave little room for personal reflection. It’s possible that we don’t want to see what we look like—the truth may be more painful than the lie.
I drive a lot for work and I used to always keep the radio loud; partly because I like music, but mostly because, when I am alone, I am afraid of my own thoughts, or even more, afraid of what God may start saying. There was way too much space in my car, so I filled it up.
It took a few years for me to realize that I was running from myself and from God. Filling up the space wasn’t helping; it was hurting, especially when I was filling it with negative music. Talk about lies and destructive thoughts, let alone really bad lyrics and crappy tunes.
Eventually I started turning off the radio and leaving my mind open to listen…
…and words began to flow.
God started talking. Well, the truth is, He was always talking, I just wasn’t listening.
And then, I began to write. I didn’t know I was a writer till I stopped long enough to listen.
Now, my favorite spaces are the blank ones.
The commute to work. The wait in line at the DMV—not the actual experience at the DMV, just the space until they call my number. I really enjoy long airplane flights. I can’t use my phone. I can’t get up and go fix something around the house. I just sit…and listen…and write.
Is there margin in your life? Is there space around the edges to reflect on what is in the middle?
We all need room to grow and we can’t do that without space. Maybe it’s time to create area for movement—the kind that starts inside. Where do we need to clear out clutter and make room?
You don’t have to believe in God to understand the need for space. It’s in nature, in humanity and in the universe. There are natural spaces for growth. Go outside more and see how much space there is. Look at the sky at night. Those stars that appear close together are really millions of light years apart.
We all need room to grow. Stop filling up the empty space and see what happens. Start with a small area that feels safe and go from there. Watch a little less TV before bed. Or turn off the radio in the car during your commute. Take lunch away from the office without people or reading material. Just bring a pad of paper and a pencil. Write what comes to mind. Don’t write to fill the page. Leave it blank if there is nothing to say.
Learn to be comfortable with space and that freedom will give you the room to grow.
I am going to leave a section blank below. It’s intentional. You’re not missing anything. You won’t fall in. Feel free to enjoy the space or skip to the next section. And if you feel the need to fill it, write a comment and let’s see what it brings out in you. Give God or life space to enter and give yourself room to grow. See what happens. What will you do with the space between?
Did it work? Leave a comment below reflecting on what you did with the space.
Author: Jim Wern
Assistant Editor: Tammy Novak, Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Via Author