Saturday, February 02, 2008

Overfilled with little things

More than a century ago Phillips Brooks observed, “The more we watch the lives of men, the more we see that one of the reasons why men are not occupied with great thoughts and interests is the way in which their lives are overfilled with little things
(quoted by Phil Ryken on the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals page)

What's on your mind?

Great question, that. Usually, though, that question is asked to basically hurry along a conversation or an appointment. As in, "let's get to the point here, so we can move on."

But the larger question of "what's on your mind" is one that all of us should ponder. Especially if one claims to be a follower of Him Who commanded us to love God with our minds, imo, but certainly a question all of us should ponder.

So, here's my list of things that frequently overfill my mind:

--sports - Super Bowl (can the G-men beat the Pats? hope so; don't think so), Bama football, Bama recruiting (especially this week, as national signing day looms), college basketball,...

--music - as the proud, new owner of an ipod (finally!), I'm already discovering that it's feeding a malady I call "musical attention deficit disorder" or (madd). Goes like this: I have a 20-25 minute commute depending on lights & traffic. So, do I go with Miles Davis (always a good thing), or Nightwish (prolly my fave metal band), or Aaron Neville, or Astral Project (my fave jazz combo), or Dr. John ("All by Hisself" - incredible live NOLA R&B solo piano set), or Beethoven, or Kansas, or....wait, it's a red light, which means I can change grooves. Meanwhile, of course, there's the way-cool ability to get podcasts: pastors like my own interim pastor, Tony Merida; John Piper, David Platt, & John MacArthur; U. of Chicago's Graduate School of Business series, which allows me to hear from guys I've read and read about for decades (Nobel laureate Gary Becker, for example); and others...

--the upcoming presidential election - for the record, I'm not real big on any of the candidates thus far. Certainly the election is important, as they all are, but is it really worth obsessing over 10 months ahead of time?

--the ever-growing pile of stuff on my office at work...and on the office at home

--the home repair things that need to happen even though I have basically no game in that area of life

Nothing wrong with any of those things in & of themselves, of course. (especially Bama sports! ) But the problem is exactly what Brooks stated: when my mind becomes "overfilled" with them.

Meanwhile, some great thoughts & interests that methinks should occupy more of my mental bandwidth:
--christian worldview type issues
--the seemingly ever-more-rapid acceleration of the world into spiritual oblivion
--wars and rumors of wars
--the utter brevity and frailty of life (my own & those around me)
--loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and equally, loving my neighbor as myself

(that's a good start...)

To offload some of the "little things" requires creating time to ponder the great thoughts & interests. Easy to say about 6:20 a.m., but I already sense this day racing toward me with a thousand things to do and/or ponder, many of which are not "great thoughts & interests." Nonetheless, I'm outta here to go ponder the bigger things, if only for a few minutes.

So, what's on your mind?