I spend an inordinate time reading blogs. Frankly, I’d prefer not to calculate how much. Finding new blogs, reading old ones. Google Reader is one fine tool. And technology can be a timesuck, but as long as it doesn’t get in the way of my life, it enriches how I live my life.
Some bloggers have taught me how to cook. I’ve braised, steamed, baked, fried, toasted, chopped, sautéed, mixed and broiled because of the recipes and how-tos and stories I’ve read on food blogs across the Internet.
Some bloggers have taught me how to better my career. I’ve read about entrepreneurs, writers, communicators, nonprofit pros, business execs, PR pros, artists and everyone in between. The steps they take towards a better business encourage me to take steps of my own. I would be a weaker professional if not for these lessons.
Some bloggers have made me laugh. I’ve laughed at pop culture, laughed at myself, laughed at politics. Our world is so serious sometimes and who among us can’t use a smile and a laugh?
Some bloggers I simply admire as I try to learn. Most of these are the fashion bloggers and the design bloggers and the DIY bloggers. Yeah, I’ve pinned it all on Pinterest and yeah, I’ll get to it someday. In the meantime, I’ve got a major girlcrush on the outfits that come from the marriage of J. Crew and a vintage thrift shop. Plus those to-die-for kitchens. (I’ve got intense kitchen crushes, friends.)
But what I’ve learned most of all is that we are not alone. Especially in our struggles and in our suffering, we are not alone.
2011 was a difficult year for me – I’ve alluded to it more than once here on this blog, and I’ll go in depth over time. Suffice it to say, transitions are like spices. A few take a dish from good to great, but too many or too much and the dinner is ruined.
As I read blogs this past year, I didn’t always find solutions. But I found camaraderie. I found others who had walked similar paths. I found others who were on the same paths I walked. I found people who triumphed. I found strength. I found tough love and lessons and fierce focus and a call to a bigger, brighter faith. I found a call to a reliance on Christ.
A common theme echoes in my stories and the stories I’ve read and the stories I’ll never read: God uses our shit for His glory.
God uses our mistakes. Our depression. Our sadness. Our burnt bridges. Our nerves and anxieties. Our perfectionism, and our far-from-perfectionism. Our failures. Even our full-of-ourselves successes. God uses every last bit of it.
Although . . . I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the real-life relationships that teach me this too. I have too many friends to count and tears well in my eyes at the mere thought of how much they’ve blessed me. They’ve shared stories from deep in their souls and I’ve seen God work in those too.
Bloggers, thank you. Thank you for putting it out there. We can grow from the strength we learn from others. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone; in fact, I’m blessedly connected.
Every morning on Twitter, I share the best thing I’ve read that day. I read too much wonderful material to not share it, and I share in hopes that it will challenge and encourage you too. Follow me there — @SarahKoci. And I’ll create a little roundup at the end of each week too, so you can check them out over a cup of coffee or a glass or wine.