Five Ways to Break Free From Entrenched Ways of Thinking

  • 14 March 2018
  • Randy Wollf

Fish jumping out of a bowlIt’s easy for us to get stuck in ruts when it comes to our thought patterns. One of the best ways to break out of those ruts is to expose ourselves to divergent ideas, even ideas that appear radical or may seem impossible. When we reflect meaningfully on new ideas, they can create dissonance in our lives. We begin to realize that perhaps our current ways of thinking are inadequate, and we need to deepen or expand them. This growth process can be painful, but the reward is a greater openness to new possibilities and an increased capacity to seize related opportunities.

Here are some practical ways that we can break free from entrenched ways of thinking:

Read, Listen and Watch Widely

Today, we have instant access to a wealth of information. I can read a blog, download an e-book, listen to a podcast, and watch a YouTube video in a very short amount of time. Of course, not everything on the internet is helpful. We must be discerning about the information we digest. We also need to take the necessary time to reflect meaningfully on the ideas that seem important. How might these ideas help me grow in my relationship with God? How can they help me serve Him more effectively? How might they help me address a current challenge or opportunity? How might they position me to better live out God’s calling on my life? Deep application of important ideas takes time and intentional effort (here's a past blog on how to read with discernment).  

Engage in Training

Last month, I had the privilege of attending a Renovated Parenting Conference put on by MinistryLift. I came away with many ideas—some were new while others were excellent reminders. After each teaching session, we had an opportunity to work through questions in table groups. It was a great way of extending and personalizing the content. Taking time out of our busy schedule to attend a training event can help us think in better ways about what is important to us.

Four Ways to Ignite Your Prayer Life

  • 19 February 2018
  • Randy Wollf

praying handsHow’s your prayer life?

If you’re like me, there’s room for improvement. I want to develop a lifestyle of prayer where I naturally worship, give thanks, and petition God throughout the day. How can we ignite our prayer life and move in a stronger direction? Here are four suggestions:

Try Some Different Approaches to Prayer

We sometimes need to shake up our usual approach to prayer to revitalize it. In her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Can Transform Us, Adele Calhoun describes several approaches to prayer that you might find helpful for reinvigorating your prayer life (I have included some of her ideas in my list below).

Ways to Serve New Immigrants in Your Community

  • 13 June 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Immigrant familyNot everyone can sponsor a refugee family. However, there are many ways that we can serve new immigrants who are living in our communities. My family had the amazing privilege of living in close community with new immigrants for seven months. New Hope Community Services had purchased an apartment building in Surrey, British Columbia for housing refugees and helping them settle into life in Canada. They were looking for host families to move in and do life with these newcomers (you can read about our experiences as a host family by reading a past blog called Do Something). 

As we interacted with new immigrants, I learned new ways to serve them. Here are some ideas for how you can serve new immigrants, even if you aren’t acting as their official sponsor: 

Develop Your Cultural Skill Set

The first way of serving immigrants is to develop your own cultural skill set so that you are in a better position to serve them. How do we do this?

  • Expect cultural differences – Some cultures are task-based while others are more relational. Some are individualistic while others are collectivistic (emphasizing the significance of groups). Some cultures tend to plan their time while others view time as flexible. The first step to developing your cultural skill set is to expect these kinds of cultural differences and to recognize that one cultural perspective is not necessarily better than another. 
  • Adapt to those around you – As you encounter cultural differences, discern which of your values at play in the situation are negotiable and which are non-negotiable. Be flexible with those that are negotiable. 
  • Dialogue about cultural differences – Be open with your immigrant friends about the differences you observe. Listen to the reasons why they do what they do. Carefully and sensitively communicate the reasons for your cultural preferences. As you do so, you will build mutual understanding and respect.

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