November 1 is my deadline for my annual Daily Guideposts submissions, a devotional book that I freelance for, so I've been thinking a lot about the inspirational tidbits that I'm going to submit this year. Honestly, it kept me awake last night (in a good way), and then I found myself thinking about it again at what I thought was morning. Turns out it was 3:45. Back to sleep for me!
It's been great though, and has put me in good spirits. Daily Guideposts stories are about 300 words long, start with a Bible verse and end with a prayer. Sandwiched in between is a story about anything you want, so long as you find something of merit in the experience. It can be of love or loss, happy or sad, ground-breaking or just a bright spot in the mundane. I tend to keep mine upbeat (shocker), so thinking about what I want to write is really a joy. Writing them however can be taxing, as I struggle to just sit down and do it!
Each year, I send in seven pieces, so that forces me to reflect on my year and find seven glimpses of God or feelings of peace in my life during the past 365 days... 366 this year (leap year!). It's a fabulous exercise, and one that keeps me noticing blessings as they happen year-round, so I can make a note to add it to the next Daily Guideposts list.
When I first started submitting, I found myself wondering how they would ever get different experiences from everyone--didn't everyone go through life as I did? Turns out, I'm self-centered. No one goes through life like I do. As one of the youngest writers on the team, I'm writing about school, friends, moving, starting jobs, becoming an aunt, dating, and other fairly-standard mid-twenties experiences. My cowriters are writing about children, job loss, travel, retirement, aging, grandchildren, and reconnecting with old friends. It's such a great reminder that everyone is going through such different things on any given day.
So think about it. If you had to share seven experiences of the past year of your life that would encourage someone along their way, what would you share? You may become thankful, or maybe saddened, but I always find it a unique reflection, and an interesting way to see how I sum-up my life. Are all seven bad? All good? Only I know, but it helps me to think about it.
The next time you're in a bookstore, head to the Religious section and take a peek at Daily Guideposts. Even if you don't open it, you'll find some inspiration (that's a tiny picture of me on the back cover!), but if you do open it, I guarantee you'll find hope, peace, and probably a few friends along the way.