Metacognition (noun): awareness and understanding of one’s own though process
Essentially, metacognition involves thinking about your thinking. Educators use it both to reflect on their own practices but also as tools to teach students how to improve their thinking skills. In the workplace, reflective thinking practices can help professionals understand mistakes and use them as learning tools as well as determine approaches for moving forward.
In your personal life, metacognition might come through journaling as you consider life events and their impact on your spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. You might also think about your thinking as you discuss life and even world events with others. And, of course, the biggest impact on your thinking should come through time with God through regular prayer and study of his word.
Metacognition is an important part of spiritual growth. The Bible gives quite a bit of direction for our thought lives – a topical study worth your time and effort – and it encourages reflection as a way to direct it toward that which honors God. In fact, we are encouraged to be very deliberate in directing our thoughts.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
When it comes to thinking about your thinking, focus determines reality. In fact, not choosing to focus your thinking is choosing to allow your thoughts to be continually swayed by culture and emotions.
Unfortunately, our culture is one of too many choices, and all of them seem considered good as long as they are “your truth” or “what feels good.” We are constantly inundated with information and choices and new and better that we never find contentment, which results in decision overload and a cluttered, unfocused mind.
Let this be your call to unclutter your thinking, to direct your thoughts toward what God considers good and excellent instead of what culture or your feelings direct you toward.
“Like our stomachs, our minds are hurt more often by overeating than by hunger.” (Petrarch)
“Less mental clutter means more mental resources available for deep thinking.” (Cal Newport)
Choose to unclutter and simplify your thinking by filtering it through the lens of Philippians 4:8. Refer to this verse daily – memorize it – to help you transform your thought diet from one that consumes junk food to one taking in healthy nourishment that helps you grow and deepen your thinking.
Choose today to think about what you’re thinking about. Decide to direct your thinking toward that which not only will help you to unclutter your busy mind but will also allow you to find the peace and rest that comes with residing in God’s will.