Taking Time to Think
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Have you ever been sent to your room?
You know those times when as a child you were in trouble with mom or dad and they uttered those dreaded words: GO TO YOUR ROOM!
For many of us, this was a terrible sentence handed down by our parents. I didn’t keep many toys in my room growing up so there was basically just a bed, dresser and a closet with clothes in it. So going to my room for me sounded terrible. It sounded boring and it sounded like torture.
It was boring. There was nothing to do. You were left alone with your thoughts. You were to ponder the wrong doings that had caused you to be banned. You may have been sent there until you were ready to apologize to your sibling or your parents for your wrong doing.
I suspect that my parents sent me there at times just for some peace and quiet. You may have guessed that for me being sent to my room was a fairly regular occurrence.
I learned something, however, from these frequent trips to my room. After the initial frustration of being banned to my room, it really wasn’t torture after all. In fact, it gave me time to think. My mind went all over the place. My imagination took over. I may not have had toys in there, but I used what I had in the room to do all sorts of creative things. Sometimes just thinking was creative enough. It actually grew me to have that creative time.
Our world has changed quite a bit in our lifetimes. We now take little time to go to our rooms and just be bored or lost in thought.
A 2017 survey found that 80% of Americans reported that they spent no time whatsoever relaxing or thinking. Most Americans feel compelled to constantly check our phones, answer our emails (which just lead to more emails), check Facebook and get into meaningless fights on social media.
In a 2014 study of college-aged individuals, researchers found that the people actually preferred torture over boredom. The book “Think Like a Rocket Scientist” by Ozan Varol (p. 88-89) reports how the researchers would take participants into a totally empty room without any of their belongings. They were to remain there for 15 minutes (that is right, only 15 minutes) and were to be left alone with their thoughts. If the participant didn’t want to be left alone with their thoughts, they could push a button that would administer an electric shock.
In the study 67% of the men chose to shock themselves and 25% of the women. One participant shocked himself 190 times in the 15-minute period of time.
Boredom has negative connotations, for sure.
Yet, two British researchers found during their research that it leads to learning and creativity.
It is time for all of us to be a bit more bored and turn off all the distractions and let God fill our mind with things from on high.
It is time for us to “spend a thoughtful hour” contemplating Jesus.
We each need a room or place to go to that is free from the all this world has to offer and see what the Holy Spirit fills our mind with as we think about Jesus.
During this holiday season with so many places being forced to close because of the pandemic, this is the time to contemplate Jesus without the hustle and bustle of life. Let us take this time to allow Jesus to grow us spiritually and fill our thoughts and imaginations with the wonders of Jesus and His love.