January 7, 2013

25 Ways to be More Reflective


There is much going on just beneath the surface of your life, but so much of it is missed when you don’t take the time to notice.

That’s why reflection is so important.

In my favorite book, A Mind for God, James Emery White defines reflection this way:

“To reflect means to give thought to something to such a degree that it brings some kind of realization — an aha moment. It takes an idea and lives with it until it is burned deep within. It takes a question and, like Jacob wrestling with the angel, does not let it go until some form of answer emerges.”

In my eBook, A Call to Reflection (which you can get for free when you subscribe to the blog), I wrote reflection is where you go from how to do something to why you should do something.

We do so much in life without asking the simple question of why.

So in the spirit of asking the question more, here are 25 ways you can be more reflective:

  1. Stop and pause when reading insightful books after one chapter and think about what you just read.
  2. Jot down notes and questions you think of throughout the day, then come back to them later when it’s quiet.
  3. If you do a devotional in the morning, write down your thoughts and answers to prompts in the text you’re going through. It forces you to process your thoughts.
  4. Understand the bias behind any news source you consume. None of them are neutral, which isn’t necessarily bad. You just need to understand the particular bias behind the sources you end up consuming. It will make you more discerning as well.
  5. Take 5 minutes of quiet time (at any time of day that works best for you) and do nothing but let your mind wander.
  6. Go on a walk or run. Without your iPod.
  7. When you find yourself doing something you don’t like, ask yourself why you did it. You’ll be much more apt to stop the behavior if you call it like it is.
  8. Read a book that makes you think. The whole book.
  9. Start a blog to process your thoughts. I’m partial to this one. : )
  10. Make conversation sticks (popsicle sticks) with thoughtful questions to do with your spouse when you sit around at night. This would work with kids as well, just make the questions appropriate.
  11. Read one, and only one, Proverb from the Bible each morning. Chew on it throughout the day and let God do his magic.
  12. Talk less.
  13. Listen more.
  14. Think about your past and how it affected you, especially when it’s painful.
  15. Ask God to help you notice Him throughout the day.
  16. Watch one of those boring movies that wins all the Oscars.
  17. Schedule time for thinking. I know. It’s weird. But if you don’t schedule it, you won’t do it.
  18. Design your spiritual year.
  19. Find alone time to go deep. Away from the computer. And your phone.
  20. Stop checking Facebook.
  21. Seriously, stop checking Facebook.
  22. Challenge yourself spiritually by spending time with others who have the qualities you want, things like reflection, prayer or intentional living.
  23. Be humble enough to know you might be wrong, then think about what’s right.
  24. Spend the time where you normally compare yourself to someone thinking about what it is about their life that makes you jealous.
  25. Be curious again.

What would you add to the list?

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