By Farley Sanderford
May 31, 2016
In this contemporary society of short attention spans, constant overstimulation, and the need to stay current on all social media portals, it can be really easy to neglect taking time to pause and reflect. We are continuously bombarded by images and text demanding our attention, and most of the messages we receive are neither positive nor edifying. Combine these with the desire we have to perform, impress, and be the most busy, and it’s a recipe for frustration, failure, and selfishness. We can feel drained and hopeless, but maybe if we take a little time to slow our breathing, our thoughts, and our hearts, perhaps we can combat the things that are vying for our attention.
Meditation, I have found, is fairly simple in act and practice, but it can be very difficult to incorporate into our routines. Like other things that are good for us that we don’t do, maybe if we see the intrinsic value in it, we might begin to make it a higher priority in our lives. When I create space for contemplation and meditation, even just a small amount of time, I always leave feeling like I’ve connected with my Creator in a fresh way, and it gives me the focus and clarity I seek. There’s something really special about being quiet before the Lord, and it makes it a bit easier for us to hear from Him when there’s not as many distractions and general noise drowning out His voice.
The act of meditating doesn’t have to be exclusively sitting alone quietly in a room with no sound. One of the wonderful things about the relationship we have with our God is that He knows each one of us, and He made each person differently. So, the way I come to God through meditation and the way my friend does can be totally different, but we are both meeting with God and we will be changed through this interaction.
For me, meditation looks like me in a quiet spot with my journal, my Bible, and a pen. Writing is very soothing to me, so I will usually write out my prayers and contemplations. I’ll typically read through a couple Psalms, several times over, and allow God to speak to my heart through His Word. I have some friends who have very different experiences with meditation. Drawing and painting for one, and playing the piano for another. If we are seeking God, contemplating His Word and His character, and we are being intentional about coming quietly before God, He will honor that and meet with us there.
Something really cool that I got to experience was in Chartres Cathedral in France. On the floor of the cathedral, there’s a circular labyrinth, which is usually covered up by chairs for services. I was fortunate to visit when the walkway was clear. It’s a design that’s meant to be walked slowly and to foster meditation and contemplation. I walked the labyrinth, meditated quietly, and considered the glory of the Lord. It was a wonderful experience, and I’m so thankful to have had it, especially on a trip that was very secular.
The combination of walking carefully along the winding path, and the vastness of the tall vaulted ceilings was really amazing. We were also busy going from place to place all over Europe, so to have had this quiet moment with God in the midst of a busy schedule was incredibly valuable.
All this to say, we don’t have to travel across the world to have meaningful meditative time with God. We can meet with Him where we are, in whatever way, and through His presence and His Word, He will be with us in that space.