Have you ever looked at someone’s yard and wondered “what were they thinking?”
I saw old firetruck hooked up to a well with a hose to pump water to the house. Wouldn’t an electric pump be easier? In the South, you can’t drive more than five miles without finding a truck, car, or tractor up on blocks. You can always tell by the height of the weeds around it how long it’s been there. More than once, I’ve seen twenty foot tall trees growing up through the engine compartment
In front of one house outside Great Falls, an old combine sits in front of the house. It’s been there the twenty two years I’ve been driving past the house. It makes me wonder if there was a conversation that went like this: “Maw, I’ve been thinking the front yard needs a little decoration. I think I’ll pull up that old combine from the barn and park it in front of the window. It can sit there and rust and folks will understand it is a representation of the deterioration of American industrial might and the rise of neo-deconstructionism.”
One day it hit me: everything I have seen, from the firetruck to the combine, started with thinking, “This would be a good idea.”
Maybe they thought it would be temporary: “I’ll park the combine here and move it later.” Maybe they have told themselves the lie all men tell themselves: “I’m going to fix that car/truck/tractor one day.” Maybe they were stubborn cusses and figured if something was worth doing, it was worth doing the hard way.
It’s not just people’s yards. I see people breaking up their marriages to pursue fantasies that I know will be empty. I want to shake them and ask, “what are you thinking?” I see parents who will not say “no” to their children. I want to pull them aside and ask “what are you thinking?” The other day I saw a young man pull up in a new expense car I’m pretty sure he can’t afford. I wanted to rush over, grab the keys, and say, “what are you thinking?”
But then I pause and remember Jesus’ instruction: “First take the fence post out of your own eye before you fish around looking for sawdust in someone else’s eye.” Does God ever look at me and say, “Clay, what are you thinking?”
I think about words that fly out of my mouth and hurt people. I think how stupid I am to believe old lies I know aren’t true: “Two pieces of cake will make you feel better.” I think about how often hurry through prayer or Bible Study, and then wonder why I feel empty.
What was I thinking?
Thinking matters. Before you let your brain sign off on something as a good idea, you need to ask your Father in Heaven, “good idea or bad idea?” You will surprised how often He wisely shakes His head and says, “No. Bad idea. You can’t see where this leads, but I can. If you do this, it will be like parking a combine in the front yard of your soul.
This is why the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing.” We need guidance in every decision, for every moment of our lives.
Wouldn’t it be great if your Heavenly Father said to you “I’m glad you prayed. You are learning to think just like me.” Isn’t that a lot better than our Heavenly Father saying, “What were you thinking?”