Former procrastinators, my frustrated husband moaned, “I don’t have time to think! I just need to think!”
He recognizes the importance of thinking as an activity, a process, deserving of – and requiring – its own time, space, and attention.
The slang expression, “It’s a thing,” highlights the fact that thinking – or not thinking – is an issue that merits our serious attention. When we procrastinate giving serious thought to something, we essentially opt to live with negative consequences we and others could perhaps have avoided. To sit and ponder an idea, a relationship, a job, a conversation, current events, an article helps to anchor us, brings clarity and direction, and helps us think about other topics more clearly.
Responsibilities give us little time to ourselves. In the rush, it’s easy to settle for “surface thinking.” We barely look at a concern because it’s hard to come to a full stop and look long and thoughtfully at it. It’s a challenge.
In addition, we are quick to grab our phones for diversion when opportunity does present itself. Are we ashamed to sit still and silent in the car? Are we self-conscious in the waiting room or in our own family room if we aren’t fiddling with our devices? TV’s, computers, phones, MP3’s, etc. It’s as if these “diversion devices” are poured into all the cracks and breaks in our day, filling any open space that we could use to breathe, think, imagine.
In the hubbub of speech and debate tournaments, two places are set aside for designated workers only, the Judges’ Room and the Tab Room. Judges leave the competition and go to the silence of their room. They consider what they have heard. Their written evaluations are reviewed for accuracy by a checker who passes them to the Tab Room. Here, whispering workers pour over ballots and calculate results. Here in the quiet, it is determined how things will move forward.
Decisions made with careful deliberation are generally wiser than those made in the crowd on the fly.
Believers have the privilege of using God’s Word as our plumb line. We can ask Him to shed light and direct our thoughts, to lead us to wise conclusions, or to reveal what we need to see. Should we ponder a child with learning struggles? Provoking words in a book? Neglected dreams?
Observe, examine, evaluate, deliberate, cogitate, meditate, ponder – thinking words we would do well to practice. Let’s ask the Lord to show us when and help us guard such think time.
Our neighbors have a large swing hanging from a giant oak. One of their sons often sits there sideways, his back against the rope, one foot on the wooden seat, the other keeping balance in the grass. He sits alone and quiet, thinking. I like to see him there. Maybe I’ll go over and borrow his swing.
What do you need to think deeply about? When will you do that this week?