Mark Gungor is a pastor of a church in Wisconsin and also has a ministry called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.” He’s like a standup comedian. We’ve shown his video series at our church numerous times, and they are excellent.
Mark talks about the difference between men’s brains and women’s brains. Men’s brains are separated into different compartments that don’t touch. They can separate thoughts, worries, to-do lists, and so forth in their own little boxes, close the doors and not think about them. Their favorite and largest box is called “the Nothing Box”. They go there to think of … nothing.
Women, on the other hand, have strands that connect every aspect of their brains to each other. Our minds go constantly. One thought reminds us of another which reminds us of yet another. On top of that, we analyze every detail. As usual, there are always exceptions to these rules. Not everyone falls conveniently into these stereotypes. Rick and I obviously do, though.
On our recent weekend away, Rick and I sat in the RV relaxing. Well, relaxing to our individual sense of it. Rick needs continuous stimulation in the form of a square – i.e. computer, Ipad, Television, etc. He can’t just sit without it. I suppose his nothing box is full of screens. He likes to go there to escape and not have to address any of the other boxes – and think of…nothing.
I, on the other hand, just sat there…thinking. Rick has great difficulty with the aspect of just sitting and not having his mind focused on a task. He’s not necessarily thinking while he’s tasking, rather he engages his brain in something to keep it from thinking. He said to me, “What do you think about when you just sit there?”
I quickly rambled off how I wanted to change the blinds in the RV, maybe remove the cornices, which made me think of a chore I needed to complete, which led me to think of some painting I wanted to do in the house, which reminded me that I wanted to buy a housewarming gift for my son and his wife, which prompted me to look forward to spending Thanksgiving with them.
Rick’s eyes were glazed over, and he had no clue how I could possibly run all that through my brain in a matter of seconds. I envy his capability to think of…nothing.
It recently occurred to me that I may miss some of what God says to me because of all the other thoughts running through my head. I’ve also realized that I really don’t have a memory problem from menopause or getting older. I just think too much. My mind is ALWAYS five minutes ahead of what my body is doing. No wonder I can’t remember where I put things or why I walked in the room! I’m onto my next task, in my head before I get to the initial task I want to complete. I’ve already moved past it, and I haven’t even done it yet!
Is it any wonder that we confound our husbands? It has taken me many years to learn not to bark out a list of chores for Rick. He can only handle them one at a time. That’s how their brains work. And that is also why women are better multitaskers.
As I get older, I desire more to slow my mind down, to take most of those thoughts captive. They get in the way and have caused me to lash out words at my husband that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.
2 Cor. 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Could it be that God included the busyness in our minds as a stronghold? How subtle and sly is the devil that he takes an asset that makes women productive and efficient and overloads it just enough with menial thoughts to cause distractions that keep them from God’s will.
This verse doesn’t say to take some of your thoughts captive – like the negative and not-so-nice ones – but to take EVERY thought captive. That includes all the interconnected, trivial, not-much-to-do-with-anything thoughts. Every thought needs to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. We should strive to live our life with Christ as the center of our being, wanting to only think thoughts in accordance to His desires for our lives.
I’m here to tell you that this is a lot easier said than done. I lie in bed some nights unable to sleep because of thoughts running through my head. I can get so caught up thinking about an issue and forget about the spiritual battle the devil is warring in my brain. I forget about the power I have over him and my thoughts. I forget to stay focused on what God has planned for my life because of the inconveniences and distractions the enemy ingeniously lays on me.
I’m still a work in process, and I’m getting better at this. It’s a joy to have slowed down my life and to finally slow down my thinking. Like everything else, though, practice makes perfect.
Always encouraged by the apostle Paul, I think of his words in Philippians 2: 12-14 -
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I think I’ll build my own “Nothing Box”.