What do you think of when you hear the word “meditation”? Some guru and his followers sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting unintelligible words? Or a crystal reader getting in touch with her inner self? Does the word carry religious ideas for you, but not necessarily Christian ones?
I’d like to help change your mind, if it’s the case. Meditation is mentioned in the Bible as far back as Genesis, but if we go a little farther, when we come to Joshua, we find instruction to “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night…”(Joshua 1:8 NIV). So if meditating on something means keeping it uppermost in our minds all the time, how can we do that, and help others do it too?
It is a matter of discipline. We don’t usually think of that word in positive terms, but in this case, it’s as positive as can be. We have to choose what to meditate on each day. That requires setting a time in the early part of each day for this purpose. It also requires reading the Bible, since that’s what we’re instructed to meditate on.
I choose a single verse for each day. Some more ambitious folks might choose a passage, or even a whole chapter. I’ve recently discovered a fresh way to choose my verse for the day. I found on Pinterest several daily Scripture writing challenges. The references are on a chart. The challenge is to write the day’s verse out, and then answer questions about it, such as, “What does this verse say?” and “What does this verse mean to me?”
As I think about the answers to these questions, I begin to meditate. I think about the verse. I think about the definitions of the main words in the verse and about how they fit together. I paraphrase the verse in my own words. I amplify it, like the Amplified Bible does. I think about its historical context and I think about how it applies to my life. I also keep a journal with these thoughts in it. Although the actual writing of the verse takes only a few minutes, the meditation can go on for a long time, depending on how much time I have that morning to devote to it.
But even though I put the journal away, the verse stays with me through the day. I find myself coming back to it in odd moments when my mind wanders. It’s always in the background, setting the mood for my response to events in my day.
As a writer I guess I had to know I’d turn meditation into a journaling opportunity. But that’s not all it is, since it undergirds my entire thought life. God knew that when He instructed us to meditate on His word, it would go down deep and penetrate every crevice of our lives.