I did a quick search, looking for a good quote on "making up one's mind," for this post, and found that almost all of them implied that making up the mind was a good thing to do; indicating action, as in the opposite of indecision.
But lately I've been trying to find my way out of that very thing, a bad habit of making up my mind about things! For the making up of the mind, I've discovered, can be unhelpful. I've come to think of it like making up a bed; all the corners tucked in tight, no room for too much movement there.
I found this post a perfect excuse for using the photo of the lacy leaves at Scanlon Creek this weekend. They are as full of tiny holes as some of the stories I construct in my mind, when I am in the process of making it up.
I don't think I'm alone in my tendency. We seem wired to try to make sense of the world around us by interpreting the data of the day; feeding it into the labyrinth of our mind and drawing conclusions. "Drawing conclusions"--ah, there's another dangerous pursuit.
Police officers do it. We can probably all think of a case where a suspect once chosen, seemed doomed to be thought guilty no matter what. Evidence to the contrary is ignored, and other potential suspects are given scant attention.
Doctors do it. A diagnosis can be a good thing, but only if it is right. If you believe it's wrong, it might be difficult to convince him or her of that once they become invested in a particular hypothesis.
To "invest in" means to put something of worth into. Whether that is thought, or time, or investigation, we have the tendency to stick to something we've invested in. I know I've stuck with a car long after I should have admitted that our time together was over, because I had invested so much money in fixing it that I couldn't admit defeat.
What I've been thinking about over the past week is how to strike the balance between making sense of the world; reading the signs and heeding them--and having nice leaf shaped paradigms that are full of holes.
Someone pointed out recently that I have a tendency to cling to paradigms with the determination of someone who has fallen off a cliff but managed to somehow grab hold of a ledge on the way down. I realized that they were right.
We sat and talked about patterns in our relationship and I realized that there were some. My mind somehow clings to its conclusions and does not easily shift a course once set upon it.
I guess that "seeing" that is a step in the right direction but it's painful to think of the people I have hurt by being a poor listener and closed to incoming information once my mind was made up.
I am so grateful for God's endless grace and patience and that of the people in my life.
New International Version (NIV)
12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.