Why we should incubate our thoughts

I’m at our cabin in the woods sitting in my bunk house and I was glancing through a book I brought up with me. It’s by John Maxwell and it’s called The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Growth”.  This part is from chapter four, “The Law of Reflection”.  Up to this point, Mr. Maxwell has written about reflection or as I have renamed it, “empty spaces”. He mentions how reflection needs to be purposeful.

“Incubation is taking an experience of life and putting it into the slow cooker of your mind to simmer for a while.  It is very similar to meditation. It’s like the “flip side” of prayer. When I pray, I talk to God.  When I meditate, I listen to him. Incubation is listening and learning.”

He goes on to say how he does this, which is by using the Notes “app” on his I-phone to store quotes he finds helpful. I use mine all the time but never thought to use it in this way. He says he keeps them there for days, weeks, or months, however much time it takes to discover an insight. (If you are experiencing depression, this could really help.)

Then Maxwell discusses “aha” moments.  You know, those epiphanies when you experience sudden realization or insight. It’s the light bulb turning on. I love it when that happens. This week at the cabin, I’ve had a couple. And I agree with Mr. Maxwell that the light just doesn’t turn on willy-nilly. It always comes after we’ve been “cooking” something in the back of our mind for a while. That’s why “spaces” are so good.

I’ve been dealing with some relationship issues. I feel this week of rest and enjoyment has helped me incubate my thoughts, and birth has been given to understanding. I don’t mean everything is o.k. On the contrary, it’s been really hard to face and accept. Now, it’s what do I do? I don’t know about you but I be my own worst enemy. I think that’s true of everyone at one time or another. Do I continue to give as much as I have in the past or do I pull back? And if I pull back, what will that mean?

Most of us have a difficult time letting go of a relationship. But sometimes it’s that, or sink under the weight of constantly trying to make it work.

The Bible says I’m to “guard my heart”. I’m not very good at that. I have a tendency to let people trample all over it, my heart that is. I don’t seem to have the same defenses that others have. I don’t even know if I can build any boundaries around my heart. It’s not who I am.

That’s why I particularly like this idea of “incubation” that John Maxwell suggests. Incubation gives me time to process before I act. When it comes to relationships, we need to take all the time we need before we do irreparable damage.

God bless and have a good day.