New Year’s Resolution: 30 minutes of thinking

Meredith Flynn —  January 6, 2014

200255412-001HEARTLAND | Meredith Flynn

I got stuck in a shopping center right before Christmas. My ride wasn’t coming for another hour, and I had already been in every store. I pulled out my phone, hit the round button and…nothing. Dead battery.

Without anything else to do, and almost an hour of free time stretching out in front of me, I decided to think.

For 45 whole minutes. (It took me 15 minutes to decide to think in the first place.)

It was an idea that had been percolating for a few weeks. In my work, and probably every other job, good ideas are essential. Creativity is key. And I had been out of both for a while. Maybe if I think – just think – for a few minutes, I’ll have some good ideas, I thought.

So I did. And as I thought – in my case, going through the next issue of our newspaper page by page – thinking quickly turned into praying:

What feature story should go on page 11?

Which columnists should we use on page 5?

What headline will catch people’s attention on page 1?

When my husband pulled into the parking lot, I didn’t have any big answers. But I did have some ideas. And I felt calmer after having turned over some of my concerns to God, who understands the value of creativity.

That’s why one of my New Year’s resolutions is to think. For at least half an hour every day. I admit, I’ve already failed; it will be a difficult discipline for me. But its value extends to areas outside of work too. If I thought a little more – about how I could give more generously, speak more lovingly, or live more joyously – I’m sure God will be faithful to show me how.

I know what you’re thinking – this is less about thinking than it is about praying. It’s basically a resolution to pray more, which lots of Christians probably make every year. All true. But I find that resolving to pray more often ends up in me staring at the ceiling, thinking about all I need to do.

I’m a list maker. Maybe you are too. As the lists get longer of everything I need to do, I can get too busy to think or pray about what I’m doing. But what if I resolved to take seriously the charge in Philippians 4:6? “…Through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

So, I’ll think in 2014. My prayer life depends on it.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.