Seek & you will find.
Basically that’s the slightly nerdy, scientific term for something you’ve almost certainly experienced.
Have you ever been in the market for a new car and then all of a sudden all you can see on the road are black Toyota Forerunners, just like the one you want? (“I swear there weren’t this many yesterday?!”)
Or say you’re a preacher in the market for some nice new sneakers (if you are confused by this reference, check out this account @preachersandsneakers). You do a little research online and now you’re seeing Yeezy’s everywhere while you do your grocery shopping.
Obviously it’s not like everyone copied your idea and bought overpriced shoes and sensible SUVs all at once. They didn’t suddenly storm their local car dealership or obsessively email future president and shoe mogul Kanye West for stock updates!
So what is happening?
Your brain is an amazing piece of equipment. It has realised that you’re in the lookout for something and so it is showing you more of that. It’s filtering the massive amount of information your eyes are taking in and it’s highlighting the specific details you subconsciously want to see. It is biased.
Put simply: we see more of what we’re looking for.
Or put scripturally: “seek and you will find”.
You see, there’s a way for us to use the principle of confirmation bias to make our lives flourish, exploding with the awareness of the goodness of God - to rig the system in our favour.
We can train ourselves to experience more blessing by counting our blessings. (As a wise and wildly attractive Irish band once sang!)
If we choose to look for wonder in this world, the cast of Inside Out living in your head will do everything they can to help us find it.
But terrifyingly the opposite is true.
If we want to find more misery, pain and strife; we can for sure wire ourselves to find that. By the bucketload. Scroll by depressing scroll of our socials.
Maybe that’s why Albert Einstein once said that “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe."
Because if we are looking for a beautiful, God-crafted life, we are more likely to see it. We’ll be increasingly awake, aware and alive to the miracles bubbling just beneath the surface of the mundane.
But if we think and dwell on the idea that we live in a desolate, hopeless spiral of nothingness, our brains will sadly help us to confirm that devastating bias.
I’m not saying that a positive mindset is everything. But it is a tool we can use to make our lives a little brighter sometimes.
You don’t have to be like Alec Baldwin’s amazing cameo character in Friends, who the gang unanimously hate for being so obnoxiously positive that he describes an NYC traffic jam as “aglow with the light of a thousand fairies!”
But why not stack the odds in favour of having a great day, full of worship and gratitude? We could all probably use a win right now.
Set the task of looking for 5 things each day that you’re thankful for(no repeats!) and write them down before bed.
Science says you’ll literally be more grateful as you deepen that practice.
And gratitude is so often the beginning of fresh, soul-restoring worship.