In 2018, rather than making resolutions (which held a slim chance of being kept) I began choosing a word on which to focus throughout the year. With the exception of 2022 in which I focused on songs, I’ve stuck to that practice and feel it has served me well. When the words are positive—joy, hope, community, shine, goodness—it is truly surprising how they can provide inspiration and encouragement throughout the year, even on those days that aren’t going so great.
For 2024, I first considered the word abide. So many good definitions and Bible verses are associated with that word. In fact, just this morning, our pastor delivered a sermon on abiding, and I was tempted to revert to it. Rather than struggling with writing this post, I could just plagiariz borrow his words—giving due credit, of course.
But I stuck to my final choice: meditate. I arrived at this word because after checking the definitions of abide, I came to the conclusion that dwelling or remaining in the place I wanted required arriving there first. I thought meditation would be one good way--among others--to get to that place. To confirm this belief, I checked the definitions of meditate: 1) to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect 2) to engage in devout religious contemplation, or quiet spiritual introspection. Synonyms include ponder, consider, think, deliberate, study. Some scripture synonyms I found—continue, dwell, remember, muse, treasure, be absorbed, and, perhaps my favorite in The Message translation, “chew on.”
Attempts at meditation aren’t new to me, but I admit I struggle. The problem comes from emptying my mind of all non-meditation-worthy thoughts. For some reason, the moment my mind receives the message I’m going to meditate, it decides to offer up for consideration every thought, situation, activity, worry, etc. it can conceive of. Eyes opened, eyes closed, deep breathing, different positions, different activities—they all help to a degree but I’ve yet to master the pathway to truly deep, meaningful meditation. Perhaps that's because the method isn't as important as the motivation and the focus of my meditating.
|Perhaps how we meditate isn't as important as ...
|why and on what we meditate.
I looked up Bible passages that instruct as to why we should meditate as well as on what we should meditate. Here are just a few of the many:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“I will ponder all your work, and mediate on your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:12
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
I’ll keep you posted on my journey. Perfect meditation is not my goal, and I know it isn’t a requisite for abiding. I suspect meditation and abiding go hand-in-hand rather in chronological order. Maybe working on my meditation will enhance my abiding...and vice versa. And maybe I already have my word for next year!