I recently received an email that was pretty timely and I wanted to share it with you.
The story goes like this:
A teacher gives his students a Pop Quiz. They’re not happy about it. He hands out a piece of paper and once he has handed them out to his students, he tells them to turn the sheet over. They do, only to find a black dot in the centre of the paper. They’re confused. He tells them to write what they see. They’re still confused, but they do it anyway.
At the end of the test, he collects the papers and begins to read their answers out loud to the class. Every single student wrote about the black dot. The teacher said there was a whole page of blank white space around the dot, but everyone chose to focus on the black dot. He said it was like this in life. We all tend to focus on the negative, the problems, the worries, the anxieties, instead of the blessings.
The email went onto say that we should focus on the positive things in life. One of those things is a job that provides income. I looked up and thought, ‘But, I don’t have a job!’ Black dot! Even after reading about focusing on my blessings and acknowledging that this is a good idea, I still focused on the black dot.
(Sometimes, I think a hamster’s brain is more evolved than my own.)
For me, the thing to remember is that during this time of looking for work, I have finished a first draft + of a novel and even put together a TV show. These are big time blessings! The show is to air in mid-February on Rogers TV (Ottawa). I had the amazing opportunity to put together Ellie’s Read On Ottawa, where I interviewed local writers. (More details to follow.)
As a Christian, I think my white space is supposed to be my faith in Christ. In a sense, the black dot is the giant wave coming at me, and Jesus says, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). But, more often than not, I focus my energy on fear and the uncertainty about the future.
I also think when we focus on the black dot, we miss the blessings that are intended for us. If we lifted out eyes off of our own problems, fears, etc., we might see an opportunity. An opportunity not so much in hiding, if we refocused our energy, turning out attention away from the black dot.
We’re going to keep wanting to focus on the black dot. This is human nature. But, when we do, we can turn out attention to the white space in our lives and give thanks. I imagine it’ll take some discipline! (Here’s to us!!)
Question: In what areas of life are you focusing on the black dot instead of the white space?