In the age of information surplus, we all have something to say, and we all have a venue to say it. We speak, we argue, we Tweet, or we make a You Tube video. If we get really focused we blog. If we don’t blog, we simply comment on someone else’s blog, or Facebook post. We all have something to say and a way to say it.
But do we ever stop and consider the target of our communication?
I am not referring to our target audience, or demographic, I am specifically referring to what part of the human soul we hope to provoke when we put our important message out there into the growing flood of data.
In training couples in marital communication, I teach them that the mind speaks to the mind and the heart speaks to the heart. Most of us are not intentional about choosing the part of our soul with which we listen. Our default setting is to listen with the part of our soul that is most like the message being sent. Data provokes intellect; instructions engage the will; emotionally laden output stirs and provokes the heart.
The broadcaster generally has more to do with establishing the territory of the soul impacted by any given communiqué. Yet we seldom consider or choose intentionally what part of the person we are targeting.
This blog, Thinking Differently most often targets thought process. Not simply thought content, but how our mind processes the data that comes in. I want you to see old things in new ways.
But what of our cultural tsunami of information, encouragement, inspiration, theology and confrontation? What is the target? Do we even consider what part of the human being we intend to provoke. We all have assumptions about what we need to provoke and our communication style indicates what we have assumed.
In Alan Smith’s excellent book, “Unveiled”, he discusses cultural assumptions about discipleship and life change. He states with great clarity that the church has made some assumptions about the discipleship process and along with that implicitly, is an identification of the soul targets that go with those assumptions.
It is time to write. I am about to teach a class. I’ve been asked to preach. I am in a conversation with a friend or in my home group. I have several options regarding my target for communication.
Our problem is this thing called “the knowledge of good and evil”. This source of all human struggle is the reason Jesus had to come and die. The very nature of this problem sets us up to try to solve our problems, while using as a tool the very problems that we are supposed to solve. When the problem is knowledge, more, or better knowledge is simply like pouring gasoline on an already blazing fire.
I would like to propose an alternative. Where we normally target intellect and will, what if instead we target spirit and desire?
When we target intellect and will, all we do is create smarter legalists. When we target spirit and desire, people develop an appetite to be near God. The Bible says it this way, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son… “ (Romans 8:3) Law is anything that provokes willpower and striving. This verse describes God changing His way of communicating in order to hit a different target in our soul. The incarnation of Christ feeds the deepest appetite of our soul and meets us in our place of greatest need, and as such, truly in our place of greatest desire.
The next time you have something to say and a venue to say it, consider what part of the human soul are you targeting. Another way to think about this (thought process…) is to ask yourself this question. “What part of me generated this thing I am about to say or write?” or “What part of me is transmitting this message?”.
Mind speaks to mind, heart speaks to heart, and Spirit speaks to spirit.
Choose on purpose.