Nolan Bushnell* is the creator of Atari video games. He has been quoted as saying, “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it who makes a difference.”
I think I identify with this so closely because most of my ideas come to me when I can’t write them down. On a drive when my hands are occupied, in the shower when everything is wet, in the dreamy half-awake place where I can’t be sure if I’m even thinking. The best things when I can’t write them down, and they bloom like sunflowers facing the sun. But when it’s time to write them, they scurry like cockroaches under the beam of a flashlight. Gone.
I have a professor in my life who says that we’ll never really know which of our ideas are our own and which ones God has given to us. The best thing we can do is to pursue the presence of the Holy Spirit, knowing that the Enemy would love nothing more than to send those holy ideas flitting away as soon as they cross our minds.
It all brings to mind the verse that says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). I mean, I’d heard it before, sure, but always in the negative sense. Always as a method to send away the thoughts I shouldn’t have, the images that shouldn’t control my mind, the critical spirit that shouldn’t get a voice.
But this whole concept reveals the other side of that coin, the positive possibilities. It’s not just about capturing sinful thoughts and escorting them out of my thought space; it’s about capturing the creative thoughts and giving them room to live inside my mind.
Write down your good ideas. Take your thoughts captive. Give them a space to breathe. They might be the seeds of something incredible, if you’ll just give them a few breaths, a few steps, a few minutes of your time.
(Of course, bringing them to completion can be a whole separate process that involves crazy amounts of blood, sweat, and tears. But that’s a different story, one that’s almost always worth it.)
Today, write down your good ideas. Capture them before they run back into the darkness under the stairs.
* Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson