Since I started blogging regularly a few months ago I have noticed that I often find myself “seeing” lessons in the every day activities of life. Knowing that if I want to blog regularly I will need to continue to need new things to blog about has caused me to approach life with a different perspective. Not that I never saw lessons in life before, or never saw how God was at work around me, but the act of blogging has caused me to develop a mindset whereby I am on the lookout for them. I have never had any lasting success when I have tried journaling, so I cannot say if it is the same thing or not, but I suspect it is similar.
In fact, I have found that blogging has had an impact on me similar to what Ann Voskamp describes in her book One Thousand Gifts. The book grows out of a list that resulted from an e-mail Voskamp received from a friend asking her if she could name one thousand things for which she was grateful. So Voskamp started keeping a list, and as she did so she found that her outlook changed. She began to recognize and appreciate things that she perhaps had not before, to realize how many things for which she was grateful she had previously taken for granted, and to realize how the attitude of thankfulness could completely transform her life. Voskamp’s list was wide ranging; for some of the items it seems one would certainly express gratitude, others it is easy to see how they might be unrecognized when the heart and mind are not tuned to seek out reasons to be thankful. “Morning shadows across the old floors” are pretty neat, if you think about it, but how many of us do–stop to think about it, I mean? Number 22 on her list is “Mail in the mailbox.” I can remember in college how important it was to me to get mail, and how thankful I was when I did receive a letter from a family member or friend, but I can’t really remember the last time I expressed thankfulness for mail. How many of us would think to record our thankfulness for “new toothbrushes” (number 526 on Voskamp’s list)? In the grand scheme of things I am sure we are much more likely to give thanks for the “forgiveness of a sister” than for “nylons without runs” (Voskamp’s 783 and 664 respectively). And one may indeed be more important than the other–but should we only be thankful for the important things?
In the same way, I am not certain that I would have recognized the lessons I found in gleaning corn or being awakened in the middle of the night by a cat stuck in the bathroom were my mind not already being transformed and refocused by the act of regularly taking time to express thoughts and life lessons through this blog.
Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind….” I have known this verse for years. I have, I trust, a mind that is more transformed than conformed, and yet recent months have revealed to me just how far I still have to go. The dust jacket of Voskamp’s book includes the statement that, “[I]n giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she’s always wanted.” In developing the mindset of looking for lessons and biblical truths in the everyday experiences of life I have found just how many of them there really are. I have not done anything out of the ordinary or changed my habits any since I started blogging, yet the impact of the events of my life is now far greater. My life didn’t change…my mindset did.