Category Archives: Mind

Don’t let me interrupt

Don’t let me interrupt.
I’ll wait.
When there’s a lull in the conversation, I’ll speak up.

IMG_4757How often I patch the hole in my day, the opening in my calendar, even the moment between my bites with something to do. Something to keep my mind occupied. Something to entertain me. Or with just plain filler. While I’ve got a few minutes, let me clean out my inbox.

God doesn’t shout over what I’m doing, what I’m reading, what I’m watching, or what I’m listening to. God waits. Waits for me to finish. To take a breath. To leave a space. To rest from all that I am creating.

In our rat-a-tat world, this feels like wasted time, doesn’t it?  I think I need more “wasting-time.” Unplugged, uncommitted, unfilled. The time I leave is never wasted when I open it to its possibilities.

I’ll wait. I’m not going anywhere.
Don’t let me interrupt.
When there’s a lull in the conversation,
I’ll speak up.

Love,
God

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Every Mind Matters: What are you feeding yours?

Bet you can’t eat just one! Remember that slogan from the Lays Potato Chips advertising campaign? They knew that if they could just get us to try one, we’d find the rest of the bag hard to resist. These days, satisfying our cravings has gotten more complicated; we feed not only on a steady diet of processed foods but also consume a constant stream of print and online media. Those producing it know that once we click, we’ll find the rest of what they have to offer hard to resist.

While most of us know that too many chips are bad for our waistline, most of us don’t know the risk to our minds when subjected to so much media. That’s because brain science is a newly emerging field. Just twenty years ago our text books taught that the structure of the brain never changed. “Alcohol kills brain cells,” I used to admonish the college students I taught, “and you won’t get them back.”

IMG_0479Now, thanks to new techniques available to study the brain, we know the textbooks and I had it wrong. The brain is actually a highly ‘plastic’ structure; it is changing all the time in response to the stimuli in its environment. Our brains actually create new pathways when we explore new things and establish preferred routes for things we think about the most. As remarkable as it sounds, our brains are constantly being sculpted by how we use them.

No wonder scripture advises us: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8) Perhaps Descartes in proclaiming, “I think, therefore I am,” was more right than he knew. Of course, the God who designed us knew it all along.

So, as the apostle Paul writes to the believers in Rome,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:1-2

encouraging us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, we don’t just set our minds aside. That’s where the renewal happens! Especially during this season of Lent, as we draw closer to our God by His invitation, we ask, how can I offer my body and mind in ways that are holy and pleasing to You? In doing this, we make ourselves fully available to His sculpting hands and shaping will.

What a joy to discover that we are designed with renewal in mind. Setting our minds on the things of Christ will help us test and approve what God’s will is for us. That doesn’t mean that the world isn’t going on out there. It simply means that what’s going on in us and in front of us – where we can have the most impact — will get accomplished by our efforts, in accordance with the will of God. Thy Kingdom Come.

What if, instead of consuming the news, we set our sights on making it? Surely, that would be a sacrifice both holy and pleasing to God.

Consider fasting from all online and print media today and, instead, make your own news. Then share it with your friends, family, neighbors or community.

Author’s note: This writing appears in the 2018 version of the Lenten Devotional booklet published and distributed by the Church of the Good Shepherd, United Methodist, in Vienna, Virginia.

Poetic Justice … you can take it with you

Journalism reports yesterday’s news.
Like the weather,
it needs no re-cap.
No sense keeping that around.

Fiction tells a good story.
Entertaining, but unless
those characters make a home with us,
one and done.

yet…

Poetry bears telling and re-telling,
reading and re-reading.
Poems speak newness,
reading into us, as we are new.
The one we are (the me who reads)
is new, with each reading.

peotry words

Yesterday’s poem
holds no sway over today’s me.
Perhaps, a look and see
at how it affected me.
How I landed there. then.

But today lifts off into a new wind,
under new weather conditions.
Today the poem is a completely new flight.
New flight plan, same pilot.

There is no quenching living words,
they continue to speak:
to draw the heart out
to fill the soul up
to still, no activate, no ignite, no…
distill … can’t make up my own mind,
must let it make itself.

These are powerful words that propel me:
to places I’d never go otherwise,
with people I’d never meet otherwise,
except
that I came to the poem,
and it met me there
but didn’t leave me there,
didn’t leave me at all.
It stayed.

What is a poet
but one who lives a life that speaks?
Your life speaks.
It’s poetry
as you write it —
see how it changes you,
as you write
and they,
as they read.

Write that.

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