Hello, blog world!

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Romans 12:2

Well, here we go… history being made at this very moment. The old dog has been taught a new trick and is eager to use it. You are reading my very first ever blog!! Hopefully I will be a lot more attentive to this than I have been to my Facebook account. I have to admit though… for the life of me I cannot figure that thing out. And what is the deal with all those green plants people keep trying to send me?

So far I am liking the blog thing. But the concept that I will have something pithy and worthwhile to say on a regular basis still seems a little intimidating. However, in keeping with the idea implied by the name of the blog (“Russellings of the Spirit”), I am going to try imparting a little bit of where God seems to be nudging me when I sit down to post. The hope would be that my nudgings (or “russellings”) will nudge something in you and that as you respond we will together find ourselves becoming more regularly open to the infinite variety of methods by which God attempts to grab our attention. Then again, I might just pop in and ask something a lot more pedestrian, like if you know anyone who does small engine repair at a reasonable price also…

As a general rule I am going to try and keep these short so as to incent a greater regularity of posting. At least that is the idea. We’ll see how that goes.

Here is what grabbed me earlier this week: I was reading my daily Kansas City Star and came across Jenee Osterheldt’s column. It appears in the FYI section on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I don’t usually read it, but this one caught my eye for some reason.  In this column Jenee told the story of a law school student named Aubrey Gann. Aubrey has finished law school at UMKC and is preparing for the Missouri Bar exam. On her breaks from studying 12 hours a day, she developed the discipline of listing her blessings and giving thanks for them. Aubrey decided that one of her biggest blessings was her family and the support they have given her in following this path. Jenee writes, “Then she thought about the many people who haven’t fulfilled their dreams, the people who didn’t have the opportunities she’s been afforded, particularly minorities.”

So Aubrey decided to act. She has been planning an end-of-the-summer road trip to California to celebrate the relief of finishing the bar, but the reality is that she has very limited funds. How to make this trip and also do something beneficial for those people who have not had the same opportunities she has?

“She suddenly got an idea to make her trip more meaningful,” Jenee goes on to relate. “She would sell advertising space on her car on eBay. (Item #260260355326). The idea is that she will pay the expenses of her trip, but will also be able to raise money with which she can contribute to the UMKC Law School Diversity Scholarship.

Here is what grabbed me so much about this story: It is a great example of Paul’s advice in action. In the Romans passage quoted at the top of the page, Paul is urging his readers to look beyond the constraints of their circumstances and to let God’s spirit guide them to a new understanding of what is possible. I can’t tell you how many times I have fallen short of this mark by letting my perceived situation define my mind’s response rather than the other way around.  This probably sounds a little like pop psychology “possibility thinking,” true, but it is so much more! It is really a case of letting God be God and listening to the other side of the story, as disclosed by the Holy Spirit.

I don’t know if Aubrey prayed and received a revelation of this creative solution, but she certainly did not allow herself to be “conformed to this world” and its definition of what her options were.  Let’s plan to do likewise.

2 Responses to “Hello, blog world!”

  1. July 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Welcome to the blogosphere. Looking forward to reading more of your content…

  2. 2 Aubrey Gann
    September 5, 2008 at 12:30 am

    My sister sent me a link to this…and I am touched that my story inspired you. I do have to admit in all honesty that I received absolutely no bites on my ebay auction. However, I did carry that spirit with me throughout my trip and did realize that we as Americans have forgotten one very important thing about life: it is the journey, not the destination. I feel as though life nowdays is a constant to-do list: wake up, go to starbucks, pick up drycleaning, do “x” at work…repeat. How often do we focus on enjoying life in the moment? I find my best moments of inspiration come when living in the moment, appreciating life in the moment, being grateful and aware of my good fortune in the moment. Route 66 is such a vacation…its about enjoying the journey, and not worrying so much about the ultimate destination. I hope to carry this spirit with me each and every day as I return from my trip and begin to slowly move back into day-to-day life. 🙂

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