Let’s talk about thinking. Not only is it important what you think, do you take the time to think? Thinking is a double-edged sword not only can it be hard work but while engaging in it we can feel like we are wasting time! Thinking is work and when we engage in it it does at times feel like loafing or “goofing-off.” Yet to keep running and not thinking and evaluating where you are and where you are heading is a sure way to end up someplace you never intended. If you are providing leadership anywhere you are needing to spend time thinking and processing and do not ignore this for you will eventually suffer the consequences.
Schedule time for thinking! I know that when you hear this for the first time it sounds ridiculous. You are busy I understand. But thinking is work and takes a little time. Taking time to think will help you make decisions and give you direction. Put it on your schedule and like everything else start small maybe only fifteen minutes. Make it a priority!
Thinking time for me follows my daily Bible reading and prayer. Since this is a time for reflection and introspection it follows quite naturally that a period of thinking over the areas of my life, faith, family, work, and relationships fits in nicely during this time period. I have become a fan of journaling and writing down my thoughts and impressions as I am thinking through the events that comprise my life. One side benefit is that the combination of Bible reading/prayer/thinking has a calming effect on me. It is a time to reflect and evaluate as well as offer gratitude and seek correction if necessary. In a noisy, confusing world quiet thinking time allows me what is essential and foundational in my life and to not run after things of little to no value.
Often when I ask people if they have a scheduled time for thinking they inform they are busy, they also wonder what exactly would they think about? A nice introduction to thinking time is to count your blessings! This helps to develop an attitude of gratitude. Think of ways to bless and honor your family. Think about your job and what you need to do in relation to your work. There are times I think about my future, as well as my past. If somehow something from the past is causing me difficulties today, I offer it up to the Lord and give it to Him. Once a week I think through the events of the previous week and think about the upcoming week. The questions I ask are: “How did it go this week?” “What worked well?” What did not go according to plan?” “What did I learn?” “What do I need to do in order to be ready for the upcoming week?” Writing the answers down I am finding is a valuable help to me, at times almost therapeutic. These questions force me to do something that does not come naturally to me: reflecting and to examine my life. It was Socrates who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Many times while thinking, an idea will come to me. It is more than coincidence that when I quiet myself I hear and see things that otherwise would pass me by. Thinking is the laboratory for ideas and inspiration.
Thinking is nearly a lost art. Just listen to the television and you will have a continuous display of the fact that one can speak without thinking! I am aware that when I spend time thinking and know that there are other things I need to be doing, that it has a feel of wasting time, but it is anything but a waste. In fact, I think taking some moments each day and week to think through the issues of life holds long-term benefits. Give it a try what have you to lose? Go and think!