“The problem with digital books is that you can always find what you are looking for, but you need to go to a bookstore to find what you weren’t looking for.” ~ Paul Krugman
I have a few friends whom I have known through the years who are really big into flea markets, garage sales, Shipshewana, and other such places. I no longer ask; but, years ago, I used to ask them why they went to those things. Their responses were all very unique but echo today’s quote: “to see what jumps out at me”, “to see what will surprise me”, “to see what other useless junk I could turn into someone else’s treasure”, and the like. They always came back with some special find that just made their day even as it decreased their pocketbook.
Krugman applies that to books. Digital books are awesome. I’m almost solely a Kindle reader now. I used to have tons of paperbacks but they took up so much space, were bulky and clumsy to carry around, and added weight when I would throw several into a suitcase to take with me on vacation (I’m an avid reader). My Kindle helps me keep all of the books in digital format and I am never without a book as well as having several on reserve.
But I don’t browse anymore. I used to go to bookstores — most all of them are closed now because of digital readers taking over — and would invariably stumble upon a find when looking at new authors or new books in my favorite genres. I even found music or DVDs at those stores as well as the occasional calendar or desk planner. Now that I don’t go to those stores, the element of pleasant surprise has been eliminated.
Surprises can be good. They can open us up to new realities. They can challenge us to expand our minds. They can invite us to grow in strength, maturity, vocabulary, and a whole host of other ways. There’s something to be said for looking for and welcoming the unexpected.
Sometimes, we Christians get stale in our faith and in our prayer lives because we do the same thing over and over again. We don’t expand the types of prayer that we do and we don’t attempt different ministries. We stay with the tried and true. While that might work for us initially, it could lead us into a spiritual rut. Ruts are dangerous because they keep us from seeing what more might be out there and the opportunities for growth they have for us.
While you continue doing the comfortable and predictable, consider broadening yourself. Try a different way to pray. Volunteer for a ministry that you would never have considered in the past. Speak to someone you generally ignore. In doing so, you may meet the unexpected and the unexpected may just be your new best friend.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. In the unexpected, you might encounter the Lord in a more powerful way.