One of my favorite places to dwell is up at our family camp spot on Pymatuning Lake. That’s where my mind is the clearest and my emotional state is stuck on “happy”. Unfortunately, I can only dwell there for a sort time before having to return to where I reside most of the time, which is also a nice place – but it’s not the lake. Thanks to screen savers and digital wallpapers, I can take short breaks and mentally dwell at the lake. However, I mustn’t dwell on those thoughts too long or no work gets done!
It’s funny how old school automotive tech can relate to my mental lake trips. There’s an automotive term called “dwell”. Without going into great and possibly boring detail, dwell has to do with the spark that ignites the fuel in the engine. The engine crankshaft only turns because fuel explodes in the cylinders forcing pistons up and down to turn the crankshaft that turns the driveshaft that turns the wheels and moves the car. The circular distribution of that fuel igniting spark must be timed perfectly. That perfection depends on the amount of time the spark spends igniting the fuel in each cylinder. Basically, that amount of time the spark-producing mechanism is creating a spark for one park plug is called “dwell”. Too much or too little “dwell” results in an engine that won’t run well.
Sometimes we can get caught up in dwelling on the past; or dwelling IN the past. While watching “The Incredibles” the other night, I caught this quote “Reliving the glory days is better than acting like they didn’t happen”. ~ Mr. Incredible. I was talking with my neighbor about this. He wisely pointed out how it’s important to remember the past so we can learn from it, but quickly added, using a sports illustration, that we can’t dwell on the past too long or we won’t be ready for the next play coming at us.
Some hearts and minds tend to dwell on pleasant things. Others have a more negative bent, dwelling only on the gloomy and troubling. Truly, our attentions are directed to dwell on the hearts of matters, be those matters happy or sad, based on our perceptions of expected outcomes. The pessimist dwells with failure and catastrophe, the optimist dwells with solutions for success and the pragmatist dwells on the wall between the other two.
To speak or write insistently is another definition of the word “dwell” and I must continue to dwell on my assertion a person is formed largely by where they dwell physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Being mindful of past dwelling places is helpful but dwelling there too long comes with a cost. Dwelling in the wrong place or the wrong state of mind side tracks us from where we should be. Refusing to dwell in a new place could have you dwelling in opposition to God’s plans for you “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) and “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19). You might want to dwell on that.
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