One thing has become crystal clear over the last few days and weeks…
Our HUMAN FAMILY is connected to a degree that we rarely get to tangibly experience. COVID-19 has shown us we are more similar than we are different.
No matter where we come from, our ages, or how much money we make…we are all vulnerable and our lives can be disrupted more easily than we’d like to admit.
We all long for health and life for ourselves and our loved ones - and we all experience pain.
Strangely enough, this global pandemic is giving us an OPPORTUNITY. An opportunity to embrace the powerful truth of our interconnectedness.
If we spend time MEDITATING on our shared humanity, we can cultivate new degrees of empathy and compassion for one another.
These past few days have helped us recognize that if each of us does our small part where we are, we will (not can…but will) have an impact, not only on our neighbors around us, but our neighbors on other continents across the world.
This isn’t a nice theory anymore, it’s become our tangible REALITY.
Let us never return to “business as usual”.
I was in a musical in high school called Once on this Island. I didn't have a main role, but I was a pretty amazing breeze, and a tree (if I do say so myself). And I did have one line that I said with all my heart: "A beautiful child, the pale color of coffee, mixed with cream!" If you're into Broadway musicals, you know that Once On This Island was re-released and won this year's Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Well, my favorite song in the musical is called, "Waiting for Life to Begin", which the main character Ti-Moune sings, as she sits on the beach with her adoptive parents, waiting for something significant to happen in her life that could possibly justify why she survived a fatal storm when she was little. And although it's one of my all-time favorite songs, (as soon as I sing the first line, my kids know they're in for at least a 5-minute reenactment of the scene), it's the very opposite of what I want my life's anthem to be. I don't want to "wait for life to begin" - I WANT TO LIVE LIFE NOW!
Many people I've talked to have had questions about where meditation fits into their spiritual life and disciplines. One person said, "I'm not sure I need to meditate because I already pray and read my Bible." I would never suggest that meditation take the place of any other spiritual discipline. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I believe meditation is a foundational practice out of which prayer, worship, and service-to-others flow. Furthermore, reading the Word and being filled with biblical truths is the first step to establishing a Christ-centered meditation practice.
How do you answer when God says, “Come sit with me”? Sometimes I say, “um, not right now” 😬 But listen to his response...
For a couple of years Christ-Centered meditation has been steadily developing into a foundational part of my journey with the Lord. For many months I was even writing about meditation and sharing some of those thoughts with others at times. Christ-Centered meditation was becoming so integrated into my daily life and I was experiencing so many benefits, that it was hard for me to remember why someone wouldn’t want to jump right in!
But in all the recent upheaval in our lives (albeit change I had been praying for), I was personally REACQUAINTED WITH THE REASONS WE RESIST AND AVOID THE LORD:
What do we all admire most about youth?
If I am really honest, I would tell you that my lived reality does not ALWAYS line up with what I know God says is true. I worry about finances (when I know that He's my Provider). I often shift into self-reliance (when I know that I should be God-dependent). I get impatient with my family (when I know I've been filled with the Fruit of the Spirit). So what gives?! Why do we have these discrepancies between what we say we believe and how we actually decide to live every day?
What if we could live more of the 24 hours of each day in God's reality versus our own?
It's like clockwork. I sit down to meditate...I've told God that I'm here simply to sit with Him and listen...I've stilled and settled my body with some slow, deep breaths...and BAM! God-only-knows how many minutes I've been sitting there thinking about some random distracting thought like what groceries I need to order from Walmart that day! A surge of frustration hits, and I feel like meditation is useless and I'm sitting here for nothing!
Have you experienced something similar? Please tell me I'm not alone in this (lie to me if you have to)! I imagine for some, it's the very reason they give up on trying to meditate at all. Or maybe it's the reason you've never started. If you're new to meditation click here.
Quieting your soul can be tough! Especially if you don't already have a habit of doing it regularly. It's why meditation is considered a practice...it takes practice! The Bible says to take our thoughts captive, but how do we actually do that? There are a handful of mental images God gave me that have been a great help. Here's one:
When I finally realize that I'm meditating on groceries instead of God, I bring that thought front and center: "groceries". Then, I put it in a bubble. And with my next exhale, I send that bubble floating up to the surface of the water. I see it wafting up and away from me and I acknowledge in that moment, that if it's something important, it'll be waiting for me when I'm done. Most the time though, those stressful little thoughts dissipate for good.
So the next time a distracting thought tries to steal your quiet moment, put it in a bubble and send it floating away. You'll probably have to do this a bunch of times, but don't be discouraged. This is you, living the Bible out in real life. Taking thoughts captive and setting your gaze on the beauty of the Lord. Imagine the beauty we'll see and the peace we'll experience, when we sink deeper into His presence and those pesky distractions have all floated away!
We all crave connection.
No matter your gender, your age, or your marital status, we all need touch. We all desire love. We all long for intimacy. It is how God created us, and we are created in His image, and He called it "very good". Babies only thrive and grow when they have loving skin-to-skin contact with another human. As single people growing up and becoming adults, we pursue friendships where we can safely share the deepest part of hearts with another. If we choose to get married, we have the privilege of sharing in a unique kind of intimacy that God designed to be a wonderful (albeit imperfect) window into His relationship with us. This deep intimacy seals covenant between two hearts, brings true joy, and creates new LIFE.
So what does physical intimacy with a person have to do with spiritual intimacy with God? And what is the secret to experiencing this kind of intimacy?
If I asked you why you are interested in meditation, what would you say?
No seriously! I'd LOVE TO HEAR what you have to say in the comments below! I would be willing to bet that, although there is a global resurgence of interest in spiritual things, a lot of us are more interested in what meditation brings to our lives versus the act of meditating itself. Back when I first became intrigued by meditation, (remember my run-in with a new-age celebrity rapper at Barnes & Noble?) I was silently searching for something. Bono from U2 sings it best - "I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls...But I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."