My thoughts (Steve Adams):
What do you do with your discretionary thought time? By that I mean what do you do when you’re not working or doing some other activity that demands your full attention? For many of us, it’s those times in the evening when we’ve completed our responsibilities for the day that we have the luxury to relax and watch TV or play on the internet — but what do we think about when we’re in the shower or bath tub, or cutting the grass, or lying in bed at night relaxing before we go to sleep.
I recently was prompted to think about this while reading the book Emotional Chaos to Clarity by Phillip Moffitt. He says that when he conducts workshops he asks the participants to create a list of their priorities, and then to make a pie chart that illustrates how they spend their time during a typical week. The idea is that the participant will then see if his or her activities match their priorities.
I was inspired to think about this in light of Pastor David reading a devotional on Colossians 3:1 and 2 during dinner at the recent LifeJourney prayer weekend in Milford, Ohio. I was so inspired by the concept of anchoring our thoughts on things above, where Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God, rather than earthly matters. I began to honestly think about how much time I was giving to heavenly things. I saw that there’s a clear distinction here. The fruit of choosing to focus and value things above is faith, peace, acceptance, and insight. The fruit of choosing to focus and value the things of the world is fear, anxiety, resentment, and confusion.
Recently I was mired in the rotten fruit of fear and confusion. During my funk I didn’t assess how I was spending my discretionary thought time, until I read Moffitt’s book and was inspired at the prayer retreat. Even though I wasn’t diligent enough to create a pie chart out of all of my free-thought time, I did think about my thought-life and quickly saw that I was spending about an hour every night watching YouTube — time that I had previously spent (at least to a much greater degree) in spiritual prayer and meditation, or reading a book that could teach me keys to living a healthy spiritual life. I just wasn’t talking with God about things that were troubling me near as much as I used to! And let’s face it — life often challenges each one of us to the core. We NEED God! We need God front and center in our minds! We need to give God our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our strength! Or else we lose out on the biggest priority of all — the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
And for those who have trouble sitting still in prayer because they feel they need to be doing something – Prayer actually accomplishes A LOT! Especially intercessory prayer. It’s just that we can’t see what it’s accomplishing.
Thought for the day: How am I spending my discretionary thought time? How much of it am I giving to God? Where am I going to draw a line and say, “This is GOD’S time! Decision made!”
Warning: After giving God more time, be prepared to experience a noticeable increase in fruit of the spirit in your life – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! (Gal. 5:22 NRSV).
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.