eggs in nest in sunlight/incubating our thoughts

Why incubation is good for people

Why incubation is good for people has many implications.

Table of Contents


We were at our cabin in the woods. I sat in my she-shed and glanced through a book I brought up with me. It’s by John Maxwell, and it’s called The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Growth”. I will quote a section of his book from chapter four, “The Law of Reflection.” Maxwell states that our empty spaces should allow us to incubate our thoughts.

Incubation is taking an experience of life and putting it into the slow cooker of your mind to simmer for a while. is very similar to meditation. It’s like the “flip side” of prayer. When I pray, I talk to God. When I meditate, I listen to him. Incubation is listening and learning.” John Maxwell

means thinking it over

I have found this word incubation a much better alternative to “thinking it over.”

Maxwell discusses “aha” moments. You know, those epiphanies when you experience a sudden realization or insight. It s the light bulb turning on. I love it when that happens, and the light doesn’t turn on willy-nilly. It came after we’d been “cooking” something in the back of our minds for a while. That’s why space is so good.

requires headspace

We need to take the space to let our minds and spirits relax and “stew”. Space to let God work through the core of our being and give us the wisdom he promises in James, wisdom that is peaceful and calm. Most of us want to run ahead because we feel if we stop, we’ll lose. “S ace” is not something we cherish as much as we should. I don’t mean physical space; I mean headspace.

We fill our heads with so much, and our minds never have time to do their thing. Our mind needs space too. And at times, its function is to “be.” Sometimes, it needs to be blank so thoughts can float around uncensored. It is during these times that we often gain insight. God talks about wide spaces in several places in the Bible. Who’s to say those verses aren’t referring to our mind?

horizon, incubation is good

When I wrote this, I had been dealing with some relationship issues. That week of rest and enjoyment helped me incubate and quiet my thoughts and gave birth to some new understanding. Everything didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted, but I had great peace. I still had decisions to make. I had to ask, “Do I continue to give as much as I have in the past, or do I pull back? And if I pull back, what will that mean?

Most of us have a difficult time letting go of a relationship. But sometimes it’s that, or sink under the weight of constantly trying to make it work.

Incubation guards our hearts

The Bible says we are to “guard our hearts”. Some of us are not very good at that. Some people tend to let people trample all over their hearts, and they don’t seem to have the same defenses. It’s difficult to put boundaries around the heart, especially if no one guarded yours for you when you were a child. Children don’t know how to protect their own hearts.

That’s why I particularly like this idea of “incubation” that Maxwell suggests. Incubation gives us time to process before we act. When it comes to relationships, we need to take all the time we need before we do irreparable damage.

fosters new life

Incubation, by its definition, means to develop the life within, to foster new life.

We grow when we understand the need to guard our hearts and the life within. Growing requires time. But we can take all the time in the world and never make any progress, and that’s called navel-gazing.

eggs in nest in sunlight/incubation

requires warmth

Incubation requires warmth, and we find that warmth under God’s protective wings. So many times, we think that these times of reflection and being set apart should be tough times of painful reflection. I don’t think so.

The reflection and incubating that God calls us to should feel comforting because God is never the author of confusion. I a not referring to times when circumstances are thrust upon us, and we can’t take time to step back, but to those times when God calls us to purposefully set ourselves apart for a time. The time can be short or long, depending on the nature of the issue;

Think about the time in your own life when you should have stepped back from a situation. At times we all rush ahead when we shouldn’t, but God continues to call us to rest in Him. When we find that we have rushed ahead and made a mistake, we can always take time afterward to mull over how we could have done things differently. This doesn’t mean we chastise ourselves but that we try and learn from our headlong rush into wrong actions.

Do you incubate your thoughts? Is this a foreign concept to you? If it is, you’re not the only one. Give the idea some thought. Let your thoughts incubate and see how you feel. Give it a try.

God bless and have a good day.

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