Hello Everyone. You may notice it has been a wee while since you have heard from me. Unfortunately, I have been struggling with low mood and anxiety. This is something I have suffered from in the last few years and it can be quite debilitating. I have felt as though all my inspiration has left me. Whereas before I woke each day fuelled by God to write, assured that what I wrote was of God, lately I have struggled even to pray. I have felt so far from God and I certainly could not attempt to write anything when I felt this way as I place the restriction on myself that what I write is Scripturally accurate and that it is of God. To write during this period would be to write of my own volition and I am not qualified for that!!
I have tried various things to help me feel happy again, I have rested, I have read loads and loads of books, I have been in the garden, I have spent time with my dogs, I have gone for walks, I have listened to music but it wasn’t until yesterday that I felt a breakthrough. The poor postie has been kept so busy these last few weeks delivering books to our home, luckily, he has a pully cart, or he would be weighed down with the sheer weight of them! My husband is awoken every morning by the sight of Amazon emails detailing my latest purchases and he has politely asked me to calm down with my book buying but my reply is “if you are going to spend your money on something then let it be books!!
Anyway, yesterday 4 books arrived on meditation and I got started immediately and that afternoon read 2 of them in full. These were entitled “How to Meditate on God’s Word” by Daniel C Okpara and “Christian Meditation, Reviving A Lost Art” by Mark Hollis. I absorbed what I had read in them and decided to follow Daniel Okpara’s book first as it is based more on Scripture meditation, although I am keen to try out the other style which is more mindfulness which allows you to become more aware of your mind and open yourself up to Jesus. Perhaps I will write a blog about this future experience!!
My meditation time began as I chose a piece of Scripture. The one that I chose was 2 Peter 1:19.
I chose a relaxing place to position myself. Lying down is not the most useful as it is perhaps too relaxed and you may fall asleep, I know I am likely to! I chose to sit on a mat in my sunroom cross legged. This way I was very alert but also comfortable and relaxed. I read my Scripture from both the New Standard Revised Version and the Good News Edition and then I reread the NSRV a few more times as this was my preferred translation. I then closed my eyes and spoke the words aloud from memory. I could not remember the exact wording, but this is not important as long as you remember the meaning. I then just relaxed my mind and pondered the passage, I thought about the questions suggested by my book:-
- Who said this?
- Who was he talking to?
- Who was he talking about?
- What was he trying to teach them?
- What was he telling the recipients to do?
- Can you remember any connecting Scripture to this one?
- How does this apply to me?
At this point I didn’t write any of this down as I felt the need to just be and listen for God’s teaching regarding the passage, so I thought of the questions and I dwelt in the image I had created in my head of the Bible in my hands omitting a bright light in the darkness of the world around me.
Once I felt that my mind was beginning to wander (as it so often does) I took to writing down the answers to the questions. At this point you may need to research the answers as it can take time to recall who wrote each book and also what it was written for and to whom etc. So don’t worry just type the question you have into the internet and there are many great Christian websites that will help you and there are also many books for instance Unlocking the Bible by David Pawson which explain this in a good amount of detail. Some Bibles have some of this information at the beginning of each book.
- The Disciple Peter wrote this.
- Peter was talking to early Christians.
- Peter was talking about God and His Word and the inerrancy of Scripture.
- Peter was teaching them to hold true to the Word of God until Jesus rises in your heart, Revelation 22:16. The morning star described in the passage is Jesus.
- Peter was telling the recipients to read the Bible, dwell in the Scripture and hold fast to its teachings.
- Connecting Scripture, according to my Bible references are Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 1 Peter 1:10,11 “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
- This applies to me because I need to view my Bible as the light of my life. I need to see the light omitting from it each time I look at it. I need to absorb myself in the Word of God daily, I need to meditate on the Word daily, I need to pray over the Word daily and I have to trust the Word of God in everything, daily.
I then prayed over what I had learnt, I thanked God for His Word, for giving me the Bible I held in my hands, for providing me with His light amidst the darkness. I prayed about the day on which I will meet Jesus, my Morning Star, when all sin, pain and upset will have left my soul. I prayed that I see God’s precious Word as the one true light of my life. I prayed over the connecting Scripture where Peter writes of the careful searches and inquiries of the prophets providing evidence for the inerrancy of Scripture and the Psalmist writing that the Word of God gives light and guides the way.
Next, I thought how I would apply this to my daily life. I aim to have a period of meditation every day. I need to change my way of life to incorporate more Jesus. I need to wake with Scripture instead of my phone screen and I need to ground myself in the Word of God throughout the day.
So, my first meditation experience wasn’t life changing, it wasn’t earth shattering, I didn’t hear God’s voice speaking to me but, I felt content, I now feel closer to God again and I feel optimistic that this could be a way forward for me, a way to lift my spirit and set me on the path of contentment. I feel that I absorbed the Word of God. Sometimes when we read Scripture, we read as though we are reading a novel and the Word does not fully rest within us. In this meditative way of reading Scripture, I felt the Word of God, dwelling within my heart and in this way, I believe I may be closer to Jesus and help the Spirit to overtake my heart. When we feel far away from Jesus and we are not absorbing the Word of God, our hearts are ultimately, hardened towards Christ. We need to remain in the Word in order to allow the Spirit to work within us connecting us to the Father and Son.
I hope that if any one of you is suffering, that you will find this blog helpful and that you will have a go at the meditation practice for yourself. If at this stage, this is not for you, continue to read the Bible and pray when you are able. The world is a dark place, there is so much pain around us. Not a day goes by without bad news of some description, sometimes awfully close to home, other times, further afield. The only light we have is in Jesus. His is the only way to contentment.
You can also try other things to help you up when you are down such as:-
- Reading a book
- Listening to music
- Spending time in the garden
- Going for a walk
- Watching a feel-good movie
- Jam Making – I have had periods of intense jam making and cake baking (I had so much that I was running out of people to gift them to!)
- Colouring In – There are some great adult colouring books online or print offs
- Craft, Collaging, Card Marking, Hand Lettering
Really any activity which requires you to focus your attention is extremely helpful as your mind is free from negative thoughts. Sometimes these little things can really make a difference. I understand that it is hard sometimes even to consider doing these activities but try and you will feel better for it.
I plan to write more about contentment so please pop back soon to have a read!
Love and Blessings