How to Recover a Wandering Mind

Rodin's "The Thinker"
Rodin's "The Thinker" (Wikimedia Commons)
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of a five-part series "Why Leaders Should Practice the Presence of God." Each part of the series will focus on a quote from the Brother Lawrence classic, The Practice of the Presence of God. To view part 1, click here.

In the middle of a nice dinner, on the golf course, or while reading, my mind often drifts back to work issues. I find myself thinking about people, projects or problems at a time when I want to be relaxing my mind. It doesn't ever seem to stop.

Perhaps as a leader, you suffer a similar malady.

Brother Lawrence wrote about the drifting mind in his book written in the 17th century, The Practice of the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence identified how easy it is for our minds to wander just at the moment when we want to press into God. During a time of prayer or meditation on the Word, we may find that our mind has drifted away to some worldly concern. We might not even notice we checked the latest text message.

"One way to re-collect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and preserve it more in tranquility, is not to let it wander too far in other times: you should keep it strictly in the presence of God, and being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings" (Lawrence).

The word "wanderings" aptly describes what happens to our minds throughout our day, regardless of where we are or what we are doing. Wandering seems normal, even when I don't want it to happen. I continue to write and rant that technology has geometrically increased the incidence of mind wander.

Try as I might, to wrestle my mind back into focus, it seems it cannot be corralled but for a little while.

Leaders often fuss about how little attention people tend to give to instructions and coaching. Is it any surprise that our words are easy to tune out? If I cannot remain focused on the things of God, how can I expect anyone to retain a teaching moment?

Part of the remedy is to practice. We must become accustomed to thinking about Him. And we must practice the art of the recall. We have to work at stopping the wanderings of our mind.

"That we should establish ourselves in a sense of GOD'S Presence, by continually conversing with Him. That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation, to think of trifles and fooleries" (Lawrence).

Think on these things.


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Today's Scripture

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2).



Platform Tip No. 106

As you are continually crafting and editing your message, remember that, "the Word does not return void."

The Word of God is our change agent. We aren't going to change anyone with our words and cute phrases.

Unleash the power of the Word within your message.



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Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president—Media Group, Charisma Media. Sign up here for Dr. Greene's newsletters.

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