Do you ever stop and think? I mean, properly think for more than just a few minutes?
Our world is busier than ever. Information can be downloaded at the push of the button and we are consuming it as fast as possible. We don’t just have daily newspapers now, we have digital news cycles via various apps with notifications designed to let us know immediately when something happens any place around the world.
With so much information flying around that we are meant to download and assimilate in real time, we are becoming more reliant upon our smartphones than our brains. Manfred Spitzer in his 2012 book Digital Dementia, raises concerns about how our overuse of digital technology is causing a breakdown of our cognitive abilities.
I used to remember everyone’s phone numbers, home numbers of friends and family, work numbers for important businesses that I used regularly but now I don’t even know my own home number or my wife’s mobile phone number! I only just about remember my own mobile number and I am not sure how much longer that will last…
We have forgotten how to think for ourselves.
‘Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it’ Henry Ford
The world has tilted towards fitting as much activity as possible into our daily routines, that we are always looking for quick fixes and shortcuts. We admire people who complete tasks efficiently and seem to fill their days and weekends with vast amount of activity without breaking a sweat, but are we impressed by an employee who tells us they spent the day thinking?
I recently got a new chair in my office. While I have been away, some new chairs were ordered and put together and so on my return I thought I would try my new chair out. You can almost lay horizontal like flying business class. So I tilted the chair back, put my feet up and declared to the team that this will be a great ‘thinking chair’.
This seemed to cause some amusement and a suggestion that maybe a blanket and a pillow might be helpful for my new ‘thinking chair’.But thinking is important and we need to create time in our busy lives for this important activity. In the same way that we exercise our bodies to stay physically fit, Thinking is a way of exercising the mind.
The Bible says a lot about the mind and how we use it:
Romans 12:2 says that we will ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’, Colossians 3:2 encourages us to ‘set your mind on things that are above’ and Romans 8:6 says that ‘those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit… to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.’And finally, the absolute classic from Philippians 4:8 ‘And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.’
So, if you pop into our church office and I’m reclined in my new chair looking a bit vacant, don’t disturb me, I’m doing some important work – I’m thinking!