I learned something about myself in the last few months. In the kitchen of life, there are microwave ovens and there are crock pots. I have discovered that I am a crock pot. (No, not a CRACK pot! A CROCK pot!) Allow me to explain…
There are some people who can read a passage of Scripture or a book or listen to a sermon and instantly analyze it and apply it to their lives. Those are the microwave oven people. They quickly process information and can give you a fully-cooked analysis in the span of a few minutes. I am not one of those people. (I know some of them, though, and when I grow up I want to be one of them!)
By contrast, I am one of those people that has to simmer on something for a while. I mull it over for weeks - sometimes even months – before I can fully apply it. Those are the slow-cooking crock pot people. The trick, in our instant-gratification society, is finding the time and energy to mull things over slowly.
The paradox is that I am a fast memorizer. I can quickly memorize material (even Scripture) and spit it back out. That was a big help to me in my school years. The problem with that is that it doesn’t stick. Weeks later you can ask me for that same information and you will get a blank stare. If I want it to stick with me and actually be applied to my life, I have to let it soak in. Slowly.
For years, I thought of myself more as a microwave oven simply because I’m task-driven. What I’m learning is that I can be task-driven and yet still require time to think through new ideas. Who knew? :)
You may have noticed the lack of spiritual posts on this blog over the summer. At the beginning of the summer, I found myself in a state of mental overload. I read a lot of good books in 2008 and was on pace to match that in 2009. The problem was that I had too much input and had not taken enough time to implement what I was learning. My crock pot brain was trying to mull over all of this information at once and couldn’t handle the load. So I took a semi-break over the summer and just read fiction (and my regular Bible reading) to allow my brain the time to catch up.
We started school today and I began reading J.C. Ryle’s Holiness. From what others have said, it’s a great book. I have been fond of Ryle’s writings in the past and this book has been on my shelf for an embarrassingly long time. It is a meaty volume, but I intend to simmer on it slowly. I may only get through a few pages a day. I may sprinkle a few fiction books or school books in there from time to time if I need a break, but I expect it to take me a while to get through this book. It’s a stretch for my task-driven personality to not push myself to finish a chapter or a large chunk of reading at once. But, Lord willing, this slower approach will allow me the time to process what I’m learning and apply it to my life.