I was taking a drive on Dallas Baptist University’s campus and was redirected many times. You see there was construction going on and the road blocks were established to direct people around it.
IThe only problem was that the cones were confusing. So I ended up going down many dead end thoroughfares. It was frustrating but if I would have stopped trying to find my way out I would have been stuck in a place that has no flow. Where there is no flow there’s no life. This is sometimes the way we think.
The flow of our thoughts are sometimes directed and redirected to move us around obstructions in the road. However, when we experience a dead end in thinking or in life we pause. We become comfortable in stopping and complacent in meandering around mediocrity. We have to become intentional about critically analyzing where we are and potentially where we could be with more effort. On this campus I had to become unsatisfied with stagnation. I had to look at the barriers and figure out a way to get out. It was possible as long as I kept critically analyzing my current situation and being motivated to getting out. This was a life lesson to me not to be obsequious about life.
We have a preponderance of motivation but one thing we do not do enough of as a people or nation is think! We have disconnected motivation from contemplation. We may be motivated to change but if we have not calculated a plan then we will be disappointed with life. If Paul writes about how we should think on things that are lovely, honest, just, praiseworthy, virtuous, etc. then he implies that we have the ability to do so. The thing that separates us from animals is our ability to think, reason, rationalize, ponder, and muse. That’s right we can think! The Apostle Paul, when locked up and brought before King Agrippa, said that he thinks himself happy. Wow! Can your thoughts have that much power? Yes they can and they do. God has given us the ability to think and it can be a very liberating thing to do. Thinking is like a muscle the more you do it the stronger it gets.
I think the tragedy in life is that we find ourselves doing jobs and work that is not challenging or we do not like to work in those careers that would be challenging because it would require for us to think harder than what we want to. Passion and purpose should release creative and imaginative thought. It should spur you to think outside the box. Instead, we have become a nation of lazy thinkers seeking cultural status norms that makes us average. There have been times when I have fallen into this rut, but I have reminded myself of this great gift. I have also seen the results of what life is like without a progressive thought life. But often times assimilation and indifference impedes progressive thinking. We are satisfied with getting our information from Wikipedia not taking into consideration the source of the information. We prefer for someone to do the thinking for us instead of us thinking for ourselves. As a result we are amused by television and internet. A – muse, not think, yes that’s right the actual implication of the word says that we don’t think when we are engaged in total amusement. We prefer our Pastors to think about a Bible text and talk about it rather than reading it for ourselves and asking questions of the text that lead to self and God revelation. We are a culture who trains their children to succumb to the peer pressures of not asking teachers questions for fear of seeming moronic by peers and insolent by teachers. We deride questions as if it is ignorant to ask them. But let us consider how ignorant it is to stay ignorant and the only way out of ignorance is asking viable questions.
There is a story of Aristotle that says that one time he was up at night thinking about the universe and how things change. It is the same night that he asked a question of nature, “…how much change has to occur before something is not what it once was?” This is a great question for another time. While he was thinking about this phenomenon people started gathering outside his veranda just to see him think. What a concept that thinking can be entertaining. We would rather assemble to pay money to see people act like buffoons but we have lost our zest for the art of thinking. We laugh at mediocrity, cheer vulgarity, laugh at stupidity, embrace complacency and reproduce apathy only to find ourselves living in a culture of amusements. If God tells us to consider the ants, nature and the works of his hands, it would insinuate that he wants us to use one of the greatest gifts ever given to mankind, the ability to think.
We find ourselves having mental obstructions because we have gone as far as we can in that line of thinking, but have we? What would happen if we thought longer and harder and what would happen if we were around people who thought as well? How far would we be in life? What would happen if we used our creativity to think and execute a plan for creating loving communities, world peace, cures for diseases, homelessness and hunger? Every invention, idea or legislation was created through thinking. The Bill of Rights, I Have a Dream Speech, Computers, cell phones, cable television, McDonalds all came about because people were willing to think. If that’s the case then the old adage is true, we are where we are because of our thought life. “Such as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”