I came across a post on Tentblogger today about notebooks. He lists 10 of his favorite writing notebooks and that got me thinking about the pages I’ve used over the years. As a kid, I missed out on the typical black and white composition notebooks (which are number 10, by the way) because we were always well stocked with those really inexpensive spiral notebooks – the ones you see the
cheap frugal moms lugging around at Target at back to school time for like 17¢ each or something (like my wife). I didn’t know what a Moleskine was until just a few years ago (and still wouldn’t mind a good debate about the proper pronunciation of that brand), but I have at least seen most of the options on the list.
Though the usually smashed spiral inevitably made page turning a little tricky, I was at least privileged to write almost exclusively in college rule notebooks. This was necessary mostly because I write tiny (not small – tiny), which some handwriting expert will probably tell you indicates a lack of self confidence or an introverted and academic personality. I hated Big Chief, with his cocky wide lines and paper that was impossible to erase without burning a hole through 3 pages. I secretly looked down on teachers that accepted assignments on wide rule. How could they be at peace with such sloppy arrogance?! Ok, maybe that’s exaggerating a little bit…
I’ve never been a die hard journal keeper, but have filled more than a couple notebooks with what would pass as journal entries. Someday, someone is going to read them and say, “Wow, I always thought he was more well adjusted than that.” That’s because my journals are often filled in mildly distraught moments of prayer – pouring out to God what I don’t think I should dump on others. A lot of people don’t notice the rougher edges of me because I’ve learned to tuck them away in writing that doesn’t usually see the light of day. I can imagine my grandkids finding an old box of my stuff and thinking, “Grandpa was really weird and moody. With all those years being unhappy, it’s no wonder he’s so grumpy now!” Part of what may make me seem well adjusted (whatever that means) is that I don’t go around spewing all my garbage because I’ve found a better dumping ground than in your lap.
The thing is, what I write in notebooks can be easily misunderstood, especially since it’s because a sort of salvage yard of my broken pieces. If parts of it are taken out of context and the rest of it ignored, those parts don’t really accurately represent who I am. Whether it’s a song (which are mostly written upside down from the back of the notebook for some reason that still escapes me), a prayer, some sermon or lesson notes, a rant, or just a catchy line I wanted to remember… you can’t know me fully from just that piece. If you only know me from this blog, you see me only through the limited lens this blog affords. My private writing gives an even less illumined view.
This leads me to how we treat the Bible. There’s no doubt in my mind that reading God’s Word can help a person get to know Him. (And yes, I realize the Bible is much more than God’s personal little journal.) But we will not get to know God fully by taking our favorite bits and pieces of Scripture and divorcing them from the context of the rest of Scripture. We won’t even get a very full picture by reading the whole text year after year. The Bible isn’t a compilation that’s meant to only be read and discussed – it’s meant to be done. It’s meant to be lived. It’s meant to be demonstrated by His kids.
It’s only when we act on the Word that we really understand the Author. Write that down in your hand-crafted Ciak or your bamboo Writersblok… scribble it into your spiral bound cheap-o college rule… maybe even scrawl it in your Big Chief (use a crayon)… but don’t forget what James wrote, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” God doesn’t just write in notebooks – He writes in you for all to see. What’s He writing?