Are you good at meditating?

According to Webster’s dictionary to meditate is
1 to engage in contemplation or reflection
2 to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
3 to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over
4 to plan or project in the mind

My mind tends to run quickly through so many places; sometimes I just want to get off the train, but it feels like I can’t. I get wound up thinking about what I should have done, what I’m going to do, what might happen… Then suddenly my heart is pounding, my stomach is tied in knots, and I have nervous armpit sweat. Not fun at all! I know meditation would help me with this issue.

I love to read, and I tend to read the Bible in great big gulps like I’m devouring a novel. I will do some of that contemplation and reflection mentioned in the first definition as I take in the sweep of multiple chapters and think about how the ideas are developing. I so enjoy doing that.

On the other hand, my husband is always telling me to sometimes just take one verse and read it and say it and think about it so much that it becomes a part of me (see definition # 2 above). I think this aspect of meditation taps into the transformative power of God’s Word. The funny thing is that I’ve done this before when I was at a real low point in my life. I wrote out and read aloud scriptures day after day until my emotions and thoughts changed. It really worked then, and I’m determined to develop the habit again now.

The third definition speaks of focusing one’s thoughts on something. I like that idea-. When I read that I think of gathering my scattered thoughts from the four corners of my mind, sending them through the narrow tunnel of the Word, and letting the unnecessary and the wrong get squeezed out. It takes great effort but once through to the other side- phew. Peace. Worth it.

That fourth definition was unexpected at first. To plan or project in the mind… I thought about that and decided that it sounds something like using the imagination. My imagination has always been highly developed (only child, avid reader, movie lover). I’ve seen a lot of worst case scenarios unfold in my head, so now I’d like to show myself some good movies instead. I want to see myself sheltering under God’s wings (Psalm 17:8); I want to envision my children sitting around my table (Psalm 128); I want to imagine the return of the King (Revelation 22:12).

Focused, peaceful, positive- my mind isn’t going to get that way on its own. I must always be “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This sounds to me like a very aggressive form of meditation. It suggests that changing the way I think is an active process requiring vigilance and diligence.

I’ll leave you with a song that ends with a powerful bridge which refers to 2 Cor. 10:5:

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