Feed Your Hungry Brain

collegeWell, that wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. The last time I wrote a blog, I announced that after writing 70 books and hundreds of articles in 14 years, I needed to take the summer off and that I would start blogging again sometime around Labor Day.

It’s mid-October now. Summer turned into summer-plus-half-the-fall. Why? Because I did something really, really good for my soul. I enrolled in some college courses.

Yep, that’s right. I go to college. Again. I’m taking two history classes, one in ancient Greece and Rome and one in European intellectual history from Marx to today. This may lead to Ph.D. work, or it may not. I haven’t figured that out yet. Either way, it had to happen.

Here’s why: If you aren’t feeding your mind/heart/soul/curiosity/something!, there’s only so much you can pour out before you burn out.

Some might argue, “Chris, there are better things to feed your soul with than Thucydides and Nietzsche.” Perhaps, and I might have said the same things years ago. But the development of civilization and its worldviews has enormous implications for Christian spirituality and ministry, and many people bury their heads around such things. But they’re fascinating. I want to understand them.

This shift from dumping my ideas on a page to guzzling the ideas of others—and having to process them in a way that makes sense within my worldview—has ignited something in me. I want to know more. (Actually, I want to know everything, but omniscience seems a bit out of reach right now.) I needed this.

You need it too—or something like it. I’ve found that most people who are bored or stagnant in life need a shift either from pouring out to taking in or vice versa. It works both ways. Those who have been “doing” for too long are reignited by learning something new, and others who have been “being” for too long are reignited by giving themselves out. There has to be a balance. When there isn’t, you have to make a shift.

I’ve been reenergized by my shift, but it pushed my online writing back until after midterms, which were last week. So if you happened to think, “Hey, I haven’t seen that guy’s posts in a while,” that’s why. And if you happen to notice an occasional missing week or two this fall, it’s probably because I have a paper to work on. Because, you know, grades.

Meanwhile, go read something. (I mean not online.) Diversify your understanding. Reach outside your normal worldview and process something that stretches you. We aren’t meant to be among the most insulated people in the world; we’re meant to be among the most insightful. And trying to get there can be really invigorating.

Click to tweet: We aren’t meant to be the most insulated people in the world; we’re meant to be the most insightful.

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Marilyn 07.11.2015 10:21  
Yes No   So happy for you and so ironic that I just sent a note via your blog page thanking you for all you write and begging you not to burn out on us! Then I read this post. I'm a big fan of not burning out because I allowed that to happen to me once and I know the weariness in it. Please keep refreshing your mind! We can be patient.  
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Chris Tiegreen 09.11.2015 19:57  
Yes No   Hi Marilyn, I got your email -- glad you and your daughters are enjoying the devotionals, and I'm glad you saw this post too! Thanks for the encouragement. --Chris  
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Timothy Squires 20.10.2015 10:36  
Yes No   I was wondering why there hadn't been anything new! Way to go Chris! Good luck with the Ph.D, but don't forget us readers!  
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Cindy Errickson 20.10.2015 09:26  
Yes No   Yeah!!! I can feel the fresh air blowing through your message! Glad to have you back! :)  
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Chris 20.10.2015 09:30  
Yes No   Thanks, Cindy!  
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