Monday, March 7, 2011

Beekeeping Thoughts—Collecting Honey from Ideas

Our thoughts possess great power. They have the potential to sting us repeatedly or to produce the sweetest ideas that stick.

At any given moment, we are in a prime role to become beekeepers to the bee yards inside our brains. I read on Wikipedia, bee colonies can have up to 100,000 individual bees in them. Sounds exactly like my crowded brain.

I’m going to blend my bee knowledge with my understanding of self-controlled thinking. There are ways to collect honey from our minds, some ways better than others. Shedding light on the art of beekeeping, here’s how we can develop wisdom as we cultivate thoughts worth thinking:

Gear Up
The thoughts we entertain matter. They flow down to our hearts. The overflow shows up in our actions. We are responsible beekeepers (aka apiarists) if we suit up. Before beekeepers step near the buzzing, they dress in protective clothing. Ephesians 6 provides excellent details on this. Our helmets might look different, but ultimately the key is having our eyes and ears protected from being stung.

Take Every Thought Captive
To maximize the amount of honey harvested, beekeepers work hard to contain all the bees. No flyaways. We have flyaway thoughts too. Temptations sneak in distracting our will to concentrate. But beekeepers learn the art of capturing those escapees. They bring them in, gathering them with the other harvested thoughts. Often the skill of doing this results in humility.

This is why it’s valuable to understand our environment, the equipment we work with (our genetic makeup, environmental factors that have likely influenced us, etc.).

Know Your Bees
While defining beekeeping Wikipedia states, “knowledge of bees is the first line of defense”. Socrates wasn’t talking smack when he proclaimed the famous “Know thyself.” (However, I must add that knowing God trumps knowing ourselves. He’s the most skilled thought shaper.) When we’re honest about our vulnerabilities, we are aware of where we’ll most likely be stung.

There are numerous different kinds of bees a beekeeper has the choice to work with. Honey bees use a method of dancing to communicate with each other. Defensive bees are attracted to breath. When we dwell on a thought it only serves us to know more about where the thought might have come from, the function it serves, and why it’s there.

Discover Your Best Working Conditions
There are several methods of harvesting honey, including movable comb hives (moving thoughts) and smoking the combs. After we perform a little self-analysis, we’re more prepared to know the best method of producing the most enriching thoughts. The sweet stuff. Ideas include talking to a friend, getting in the Word, journaling, etc. This reminds me of a book that influenced my faith,
Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas (highly recommend).

Mesh What Produces the Sweetest Outcome
While digging deeper in my research, I discovered beekeepers hybridize bees, ones that produce disease resistance with those that have good honey production. Or they blend those with good honey production with those that are prolific breeders, etc. When we harvest delicious thoughts we have the same opportunities to blend highly creative, out-of-the-box thoughts with highly relatable thoughts. We can hybridize edifying thoughts with those that will inspire needed action.

Something to remember: The thoughts we harvest today will impact our actions tomorrow.

What do you think about harvesting thoughts? Which one of the above is easiest and/or most difficult for you?

Bees Knees:
Loved the book: The Secret Life of Bees
Want to read the book: Little Bee
(oh yeah, and seeing my face on
this blog was the bees knees, too—even if it was just for winning a book.)
*photos by flickr


  1. I also loved The Secret Life of Bees. I added Sacred Pathways to my Amazon wishlist!

  2. My uncle was a beekeeper. He has always regaled us with stories from his time as the town preserver of all things yellow and buzzing. Often when I get a story idea it's like a progressively angry hive that attacks my brain until I get the ideas down.

  3. Very fascinating analogy! I like the "discover your best working conditions." When I focus on what God wants me to do and keep that in my thoughts, then I have more little bursts of inspiration in all areas of my life.

  4. I'm hankering for a cup of tea sweetened with honey after this post, Wendy. =)

    I find that taking every thought captive is something I need to do. If I allow mine to travel their normal paths, they will all too often traverse Fear Freeway, Self-Doubt Street, or Discouragement Drive.

  5. Ditto Julie! I listened to it on audio and it was a great experience. I need to get better at taking every thought captive!

  6. I struggle with finding the perfect working conditions. It always changes for me and I have yet to really be happy with any of them.

    I want to read both of those books!

  7. Hi Wendy -

    Taking every thought captive is an area where I need more work. I get distracted and tend to wander down rabbit trails. Oops! Sorry for mixing the metaphors. :)


  8. Let me say thank you Wendy, this post is honey to my hampered spirit. The Spirit is pricking my soul with correction today, about the warfare in my mind. So much apprehension and anxiety when my Father calls me to cast my cares.

  9. Thank you for this great reminder of keeping our thoughts captive. It was inspiring to learn (Beth Moore study) and always uplifting to hear too.

  10. Julie, I got so much out of Sacred Pathways. I read it years ago and think about it often.

    Tana, Aha, trackerjackers! ;) How cool your uncle was a beekeeper.

    Stacy, Isn't that so true. Easier to get more done that way...the kinds of things that will matter.

    Keli, I know those roads all too well. Don't need a GPS around those streets.

    Katie, I laugh at God sometimes (well, actually with Him) and ask Him how much He really thinks I can learn at one time.

    Jennifer, My mom just finished Little Bee...said it was good, but sad. We read so many of the same books.

    Hey Susan, I feel like I'm the queen of distraction sometimes. It's part of the curse of being good at multi-tasking.

    Tamika, I feel you on that one. Lord, I pray that you shower Tamika with calming, peaceful thoughts of you and your love.

    Shopgirl, I got that from the Bible, but I wouldn't doubt it's a Beth Moore study. I've done about eight of her studies--phenomenal! Wondering which one you are talking about.

    Missing some of the regulars today. Maybe you were all buzzin' around doing other things. ;) I'm bad. Anyway, I'm bathing in God's hope and His promises.

    And I'm hoping the same for you.

    ~ Wendy

  11. Great points! My favorite is taking every thought captive, for when I do not do that, trouble often follows. Appreciate you sharing this!

  12. What an outstanding anyalysis this is, Wendy!

    Interruptions are a killer for me. I try to control my environment to minimize them. How insightful of you to encourage understanding environment. That's a far more attainable goal.

  13. Excellent thoughts, Wendy, and well-written!

    I am challenged to take my thoughts captive. Sometimes they escape out my mouth, and sting!

  14. No flyaways? I might as well sleep for the next two weeks then! Excellent analogy. I need to get to the worker bee mindset--focused.


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