Is It Time for You to Try Something New?
Updated: Jun 27, 2019
Written by guest, Michele Morin.
When the Apostle Paul urged believers in Rome to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, he was pre-figuring a field of neurological research that would appear on the scene (by natural means, anyway!) two thousand years later under the moniker of a “growth mindset.”
It turns out that as we reframe our inner monologue, we actually change the way our brain works. Moving from negativity toward a “renewed mind” of trust is not only biblical. It’s good science! This neuroplasticity—or change in brain mapping—leads to new freedom of possibilities and learning. Of course this is easier read than done, so I’m putting some of this good science to the test in my past middle-age, empty-ing nest life.
I readily admit to being a stick-in-the-mud, having done my own in-depth research around the efficiency of doing things the same way every time and the peacefulness of living a life with few surprises. However, the findings on growth mindset highlight advantages (such as better coping skills and less anxiety) that are so compelling I’m test driving it as I try one new thing every month in 2019:
· In January, my husband and I set forth on a day trip to New Brunswick, Canada, something we could never have done in the days of car seats and sippy cups.
· In February, I wrote first-time guest posts for two different sites.
· In March, I traveled farther for ministry than I ever have before—and got on an airplane for the first time since 1989.
· April weather created a setting for a long walk outside in the spring sunshine with both grandchildren.
· May featured a great road trip with my youngest son (Just the two of us!) for a college preview day.
Obviously, this will NOT be a steady upward trajectory, and I’m going to count the least measure of progress, because this is what God does for us, too. The plan for April is tame: I want to take both grandkids for a long walk outside in the spring sunshine.
Changing my default from “I can’t do that!” to “Let’s try!” is a position with deep roots in good theology.
In his infinite wisdom, God has made us “choosers” with all the peril and dignity that involves.
Our free will is an invitation to explore God’s beckoning love and to try new avenues of reflecting his glory.
Madeleine L’Engle argues:
“With free will, we are able to try something new. Maybe it doesn’t work, or we make mistakes and learn from them. We try something else. That doesn’t work, either. So we try yet something else again. When I study the working processes of the great artists I am awed at the hundreds and hundreds of sketches made before the painter begins to be ready to put anything on the canvas. It gives me fresh courage to know of the massive revision Dostoyevsky made of all his books—the hundreds of pages that got written and thrown out before one was kept.”
Playing it safe is a hard-won habit that has served me very well, and yet there is grace upon grace available in which God promises to meet me in my failures and setbacks. His own glorious launch into newness laid the foundation for the welcome of the gospel...
...and while it’s my default to seek a way around desert and wilderness spaces, God delights to engineer roads that plow on through and rivers that irrigate as we go:
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)
When we lean into transformation that arises from a renewed mind, our willingness to embrace change may lead to some surprising destinations.
What changes are you pondering and planning in your life?
Is it time for you to try something new?
Michele Morin reads, writes, gardens, and does life with her family on a country hill in Maine. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy, advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes,” and finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She blogs at Living Our Days because “the way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our lives.” Michele is a proud member of The Redbud Writer’s Guild, and has shared her thoughts with joy at Desiring God, (in)courage, The Perennial Gen, SheLoves Magazine, Living By Design and elsewhere!
Busch, Bradley. The Guardian. “Research Every Teacher Should Know.” https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2018/jan/04/research-every-teacher-should-know-growth-mindset. Accessed March 29, 2019.
Chase, Carole F. Madeleine L’Engle: Herself. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2001.