Monday, February 16, 2015

Why I Love Meditating

Doubtless you've heard of it. Meditation features in almost every TV show/movie that has an eastern flair or character in it. It's a huge part of New Age practices, and abounds in yoga.

It's also in the Bible.

More on that in a bit.

Meditation has gotten a bad rep from the way people practice it, but it has many benefits. For me personally, I notice I am more focused and calmer on days I take the time for it.

And unless you think I've totally gone off the deep end of sanity into some miry pit, check out the Psalms. At least a handful of them talk about meditating (especially Psalm 119), though not in the way we hear it described today. Rather than the common "empty your mind" nonsense, the Psalms name something specific we are to fill our mind with: God's Word.

You see, meditation as described in the Bible is really just a fancy way of saying focus on/think about.

Meditating on God's Word is useful. Meditating on nothing and letting any little thought float around in there is like jumping into a garbage truck and expecting to come out squeaky clean in the end.

So of course, we don't want to practice meditation the way it's normally taught. Emptying your mind is never a good thing. If you're thinking of nothing, you can bet your last pair of fuzzy socks that Satan's going to take care of that. Instead, let's follow the example of the Psalms. Here's what I meditate on, and recommend you do the same.

1. God's Word

"My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word." 
~Psalm 119:148 NKJV

Meditating on God's Word reminds us of what He has already done, what He's capable of, and what He's promised to do. It reminds us that we don't have to worry, because He's bigger than our problems. It reminds us of how much He loves us, and how He's working everything out for good toward us.

See why I find it so calming? How can we be stressed when we remember those things?

I like to especially focus on verses such as Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:13, Joshua 1:9, and Hebrews 13:5.

2. What God has already done in your life

"Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you." ~ 1 Samuel 12:24 NKJV
Samuel spoke this to Israel at Saul's coronation, and imagine how differently things may have worked out if the people had listened to him! 
No matter how horrid you might think your life right now, no matter what kind of mess you're in, if you think hard enough, you can remember something awesome God did in your life. God worked it out so I have a part-time job. There's lots of people without even that much. God helped me find some pretty awesome friends. God gave me a pretty amazing family.

Think about how much worse your life could have been. God saved you from that. And if your situation is pretty amazing right now, this exercise should be easy.

3. What God is like

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" ~ Psalm 103:2 NKJV

Think about it. When you're constantly reminding yourself how mighty, strong, kind, loving, forgiving, powerful, wise, comforting, and merciful God was, is, and will continue to be, it's hard to get into a funk. It also makes it easier to know what you should be doing (hint: if God is the same now as He was a thousand years ago, you can be pretty sure the Ten Commandments still stand, let alone the teachings of the New Testament). Don't remember all his attributes? Psalm 103 is a good place to start (it also talks about a lot of things He does for us).

Just take a few minutes a day and try it. I usually try to meditate a few minutes in the morning and the evening, to get myself ready for the day and to unwind before going to bed. See how you feel after trying it for a few days.

What are some of your favorite verses to meditate on? Let me know in the comments!

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