“Linked Science Concept: Multi-tasking is a persistent myth. Paying deep, focused attention to one task at a time is the correct way.”
[Multitasking], this poor focusing of attention and lack of quality in our thought lives is the complete opposite of how the brain is designed to function and causes a level of brain damage. Every rapid, incomplete, and poor quality shift of thought is like making a milkshake with your brain cells and neurochemicals. This milkshake-multitasking, which is the truth behind multitasking, creates patterns of flightiness and lack of concentration that are unfortunately often erroneously labeled ADD and ADHD and that are too often unnecessarily medicated, adding fuel to the fire. And it’s a rapid downhill slide from there if we don’t get back to our God-designs of deep, intellectual attention.
What does deep, focused, intellectual attention look like versus milkshake-multitasking? The answer is modeled in Proverbs 4:20-23 MSG: “Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health. Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” It is very interesting that every cell in the body is connected to the heart, and the brain controls the heart and the mind controls the brain. So whatever we are thinking about affects every cell in our body (emphasis mine).
(Excerpts from chapter 6)
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2016 brought some crazy, some serious crazy. And it brought a lot of heartbreak. A lot.
But let’s stop for a moment and take a closer look at this past year.
START FROM THANKSGIVING
To begin with, it’s important to choose to be thankful first, to “enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4 NLT). Before we go any further and let the 2016 memories drown us in sorrow, let’s get our hearts and our minds in the right place by choosing to be thankful. You don’t have to begin with being thankful for the crazy, for the bad, for the hurt that happened this year. But you always want to start from thanksgiving. So push through the difficult and infuriating memories of 2016, and remember some of the good that happened.
Now write it down. Gratitude as a fleeting thought is not nearly as powerful as gratitude written down in permanent ink as a tangible touchstone for your senses to encounter and remember. Take it a step further and engage your ears and your mouth in the process by saying what you’re thankful for out loud. Thank God for the good that you remember–for the moments of joy, the divine provision, the health, the breaths to live another day, the friends who hugged you, the song that came on when you needed it, or the food that was on your plate yesterday. Be thankful for the little and the big. Be thankful a lot.
Once you’ve given ample time for your heart to quiet down and your mind’s eye to focus on the good, you’ll be in a place to be able to fix your eyes back on the Author and Finisher of our faith. Isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be about anyway–readjusting our focus and fixing our eyes on that miracle baby sent to change the trajectory of our destiny and send our story to an ending marked by redemption and freedom? Focus back on Him, and then remember . . .
What are you thankful for from this past year?
What are you thankful for that you believe will happen this next year?
These are the two questions my family members each had to answer before the Thanksgiving meal was served. My mom would prepare a little bowl by filling the bottom with unpopped popcorn kernels. We would pass the bowl around, each take two kernels, then pass it again, as one at a time, each person would put one kernel back in the bowl while sharing what he or she was thankful for that happened in the past year. When the bowl got back to the first person, it’d continue on one more round, this time each person putting in a kernel and naming something he or she was thankful would happen in the next year.
Let’s be honest. It’s pretty easy to come up with something we’re thankful for that has already happened. Why? Because it’s tangible. We saw it with our eyes, touched it with our hands, felt it with our hearts. But those intangibles . . .
Why are we so fixed on choosing to be thankful for what we see when there’s so much power in being thankful for and speaking out what we cannot yet see?