A couple of years ago I spent 31 Days reading the book of Sirach and writing about it. I considered affirmations, a Facebook Bible, ebola and mean girls to name a few. As I was writing, I noticed there was a common thread through all those posts–my thought life. Honestly, this is something I am passionate about. Being a Melancholic/Choleric/tired momma of 7 doesn’t really scream “Passionate” but I am in my own way. I don’t shout from the rooftops, rally or lobby. What I do is listen. When I start hearing a momma use words like “always” and “never”. When I hear sentences that begin with “I just…” “I can’t…” “But she/they…” I know there’s more going on than what meets the eye. Those are all words or phrases that take me back to a time when my thinking was garbage, my self-esteem non-existent, my prayer life dry, and I was literally hoping to just make it through the day in one piece. Part of my successful exit from that way of life–and I use the word “successful” trepidatiously–was building some new thinking habits.
Our thoughts can become habitually, did you know that? And me, well I had spent too many years thinking about whatever popped into my mind. I still bear the mental and emotional scars to prove it. I have a very real sensitivity for those suffering from the consequences of negative thinking. I also have a healthy fear of ever going back down that road. When I start getting scared, anxious and panicky, I will say, “I don’t know that I could make it back out again.” Do you know what I’m talking about? Some of you do. You’ve emailed me so we could chat. You’ve emailed asking for prayers. You’ve emailed just to say “Thank you for talking about this.” On that note, let’s talk about what I know to have been a crucial tool in my recovery–how to meditate constantly on His commands.
I’ve written frequently and specifically on our thought life. I’ve shared scientific information about how our brains are wired to think. That information just astounds me! We are so complex. The scientific information is important even though today we are considering Christian meditation on the commands of God. That science behind our thoughts reveals new habits can be formed. That’s encouraging to know and important to note. Starting something new, anything new, is a learning process. So don’t be discouraged if you read this post and go sit in your favorite comfy chair to meditate on His commands and come up empty and dry. Don’t be discouraged to learn, this takes time. Those negative thinking habits have a deep and firm hold and the enemy likes it that way!
Meditate Constantly on His Commands
Before we unpack this idea of meditating constantly on His commands, please do not get hung up on the word “constantly.” Let’s visit one of my favorite books, the Thesaurus. Constant can mean a couple of different things: fixed, never ending, loyal, determined. Some synonyms for constant: regular, stable, steady, perpetual, firm, permanent, habitual, endless, persistent, faithful, dependable, persevering…Sure some of those words can conjure up the idea of a continual, non-stop sort of holy conversation rarely seen this side of heaven. But some of those synonyms are for the rest of us…the wives and mothers, the full timers and the old timers, the deep thinkers and the “I cannot even finish a complete thought without an interruption!” I fall into all those categories by the way. I was once accused of not being very self-reflective. This person obviously didn’t know me. I have to force myself to stop being so self-reflective! That was and continues to be a large part of recovery–getting out of my own head.
Now, for those of us living La Vida Loca–the crazy (blessed) life…pay attention to the word, “persistent.” Back to my trusty Thesaurus. Persistent: enduring, repeated, in for the long haul. Now those are some words I can work with. I get persistent; I think any momma gets persistent. Those toddlers, teens are everything in between can be persistent if nothing else. Am I right?
Meditate constantly on His commandments…Meditate repeatedly on His commandments…Meditate persistently on His commandments. I can do that. You can do that. We can persistently go back to our meditation if interrupted. We can repeatedly go back to meditating on His commands. Look, if God’s desire was for us to sit in a quiet place and meditate exclusively all day long, He would not have placed us where we are. He does not expect continually, He expects continuity; a habitual practice, for the long haul, of returning our thoughts to Him, about Him. I am so glad to know He didn’t set me up for failure. I may not be able to do something continually, but I can keep coming back to something…keep coming back to Him. These conversations with Him, they aren’t meant to interrupt our life, they are to be our life. This ebb and flow, this fluidity of intimate friendship with our Creator. He knew what He was doing.
I love the verse in the Book of Sirach that states, “Reflect on the statutes of the Lord, and meditate at all times on his commandments. It is he who will give insight to your mind, and your desire for wisdom will be granted.“ The note I have out beside that verse is, “Seek God for advice before others.” Too often, we immediately call…or we Google…or head to Facebook. What would happen if we just sat on the problem for a minute or two? What if, when confused and needing some answers, we let God have first stab at the problem? What if we brought our troubled hearts and minds to the One Who created them before we took the streets where others may harm them–even inadvertently. Confusion and pain is a vulnerable place to be and the more we spread ourselves around, the likelihood of being hurt increases. It is He who will give insight to our mind.
Let me tell you, drowning out or not even allowing the unnecessary noise and opinions of the world to enter into heart and mind were crucial to regaining my mental health; they still are. I had to train myself and still have to remind myself–seek God’s wisdom first. Yes, I still have to remind myself of this. I am a total work in progress. And all that noise and distraction? Have you heard the old saying, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”
Chapter 1 verse 1 of the Book of Sirach states, “All wisdom comes from the Lord.” The wisdom of God produces a steadfast and unwavering heart. The only way we can know God’s wisdom is to seek His wisdom. Not only seek it, but ponder it, consider it, and meditate on it, so we can understand it. And if we’re meditating on it and life interrupts, persistently get right back to it. So this constant meditation? It is not necessarily a continual meditation on God’s commands, but a continual returning our mind to thoughts of God.