What do you do to keep your mind sharp?
We frequently hear how important it is to challenge our minds. Learning something new, stretching our brains, or expanding ourselves mentally in some way is as important for our brains as physical exercise is for our bodies. When we neglect mental exercise, we begin to atrophy and weaken, and it affects every aspect of our lives.
My mother is my hero when it comes to mental exercise. When I couldn’t wait to be done with school, I couldn’t understand why she would always want to be taking another class or challenging herself to learn something new. But, now I am understanding more and more her drive to continually learn and grow. And, I am making that drive my own. I hunger to learn.
But, there is a second question we must ask ourselves; there is something more than simply keeping our minds sharp. What do we do to keep our spirits sharp?
In my current phase of life, I read a lot. I read the kids’ school readers so that I will know how to evaluate their reading comprehension. I read through extra resources so I’ll know what can be used to supplement the girls’ curriculum or to teach Steven. I read for the weekly book reviews I post. I read so I can teach my Wednesday night class. I read blogs and articles.
All of that reading does sharpen me mentally, but it sometimes means that I am simply reading in quantity. Often quality is compromised because of the quantity.
In the middle of it all, I have to challenge myself to keep up the quality. And there is nowhere quality matters more than in keeping my spirit sharp.
I’m sure you’ve heard the frequently repeated example of how the Secret Service learns to identify counterfeit money. They study the real thing. Over and over and over again. Intently and intensely. I must do the same thing to keep my spirit sharp. I must dig in and study truth about God and Scripture. Sometimes that means reading books that are a stretch for me right now. They aren’t books that I can devour in a week for review. They aren’t things that I can read in ten minute blocks here and there and move easily through. If I read them in ten minute blocks, I find myself re-reading just to catch myself back up. It often seems to be too much for this mama’s brain to handle with everything else I have going on.
But, I can’t let it go simply because it seems to be too much of a challenge. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be enough. So, I plug along. Not as quickly as I’d like. Frequently not as steadily or consistently as I’d like. But, I still keep going.
So, I ask again: What are you doing to keep your mind sharp? What are you doing to keep your spirit sharp? Exercise is critical. Don’t ever stop! You’ll definitely be thankful for the mental and spiritual muscle tone that result from the diligence!