It’s easy for us to get stuck in ruts when it comes to our thought patterns. One of the best ways to break out of those ruts is to expose ourselves to divergent ideas, even ideas that appear radical or may seem impossible. When we reflect meaningfully on new ideas, they can create dissonance in our lives. We begin to realize that perhaps our current ways of thinking are inadequate, and we need to deepen or expand them. This growth process can be painful, but the reward is a greater openness to new possibilities and an increased capacity to seize related opportunities.
Here are some practical ways that we can break free from entrenched ways of thinking:
Read, Listen and Watch Widely
Today, we have instant access to a wealth of information. I can read a blog, download an e-book, listen to a podcast, and watch a YouTube video in a very short amount of time. Of course, not everything on the internet is helpful. We must be discerning about the information we digest. We also need to take the necessary time to reflect meaningfully on the ideas that seem important. How might these ideas help me grow in my relationship with God? How can they help me serve Him more effectively? How might they help me address a current challenge or opportunity? How might they position me to better live out God’s calling on my life? Deep application of important ideas takes time and intentional effort (here's a past blog on how to read with discernment).
Engage in Training
Last month, I had the privilege of attending a Renovated Parenting Conference put on by MinistryLift. I came away with many ideas—some were new while others were excellent reminders. After each teaching session, we had an opportunity to work through questions in table groups. It was a great way of extending and personalizing the content. Taking time out of our busy schedule to attend a training event can help us think in better ways about what is important to us.