Wednesday's Word

I remember reading about how doing tasks with your non-dominant hand is good mental stimulation. It can serve to create new brain pathways, thereby helping to fight against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Of course, there are other suggestions as well, like moderate to intense exercise several times a week, strength building, diet, avoiding certain behaviors and practices. But the one thing that affects the brain directly is mental stimulation. Therefore, it is suggested we try to always be learning something new, exercise and stretch our brains so that our mental capabilities stay flexible and continue to grow.

Most intriguing to me, is the idea of doing routine tasks with our non-dominant hand. If you’ve tried that, it really requires you to think and concentrate. It takes us out of our comfort zone.

I’ve written before about my morning walks I take for exercise and a time of being silent before God to hear God’s voice. I have a set out path I have been walking since I began back in April. My route takes me along a creek, past an elementary school, through a neighborhood, through a park and along a busy thoroughfare. I don’t have to think, and barely need to concentrate because the path has become so familiar to me. I have just recently deviated from my routine to take a new path. What was familiar, routine, and frankly had become a blur, now suddenly had changed. I was suddenly seeing new things, experiencing a different environment. I had to think about where I was going, what direction I was traveling, where I was placing my feet.

The breaking of routine is a way of taking notice, observing new directions, new thoughts, new ideas, and opening one’s self to a broader perspective. Maybe Robert Frost said it best, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Each of us have the potential to get stuck in our routines, continue things out of habit. It can be hard work to break from a routine. Because it is routine, it takes less thought, even maybe less effort. When we break from routine it causes us to think, to consider, to weigh our options in possibly a more critical light.

We’ve all heard some version of this thought, “If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to see the same results.” In our interactions with one another what would it look like if instead of holding on to our own preconceived notions, our own ideas, our own ways of approaching something, we tried to look at a situation from other view points, other perspectives? I wonder what outcomes we might see? I wonder how relationships might be built and strengthened?

In Isaiah 43:19 God says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” When we stick to our routines, to our own thoughts, our own ideas, our own perspectives, we possibly make it impossible to do a new thing in us. I believe God works in wilderness and wastelands. Those are the places less traveled, but being open to new things is where God can and will shine, and it will make all the difference.

Your fellow traveler on the Way,
Pastor Tom

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