Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Productively Sitting Still

I've been attending a class on spiritual disciplines on Wednesday nights at our church this quarter. In tonight's class we discussed the discipline of meditation. It's an often-overlooked discipline, I think in part because the word "meditation" conjures up images of yogis and Buddhist monks and other mysterious practices. But we learned an important distinction tonight...whereas the world's interpretation of meditation involves emptying one's mind, the Christian interpretation is actually filling one's mind with thoughts of God and His Word.

One of the hindrances in our taking the time to be still and meditate on God is the feeling that we are not being productive, that we are wasting time. I think that we have our view of productivity out of whack.

One of the verses we examined tonight was Psalm 37:7:

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. (NLT)

Look at the second phrase--"wait patiently for him to act." Being still does not equal lack of productivity. Rather, it is allowing God to be productive on our behalf. Sitting still before God and meditating on Him is never wasted time. He can do more with our time than we can.

There have been days where I've felt extremely rushed in the morning, and have skipped my quiet time in order to get my day started. It seems that on those days, no matter how hard I try to catch up, I always lag behind and often end up tired and frustrated. On the days when I do take time to spend in quiet meditation with God, my day actually ends up being more productive, even though technically I am using less time to get things done.

There is, of course, a far greater productivity that results from this meditation--growing in intimacy with God. When I take time to contemplate His Word, to remember what He did thousands of years ago and what He did six years ago and what He did two days ago, I deepen my faith in Him.

Time spent in God's Word and meditating on it is never wasted.


Snapshot said...

Doing some Christian based Yoga exercises and it's amazing how difficult the discipline of "being still" can be for today's active Christian woman.
Before doing this I would have told you I'm a good listener, now I'm not so sure.

Tara said...

Good points! I am guilty of saying I'm too busy, but then doing silly things to make me look busy. And I'm at home all day with no "boss." Home schooling added 4 hours to my day, but yet I seem to get more done now than before.

I also could take time to just sit and exist, something I no longer do regularly. I study God's word, but don't meditate on it as before.

Our family has recently started attending a church closer to home. We were spending six hours in the car just to go to/from Bible class and worship, not to mention fellowships, etc. With our new found time on Sunday I thought of 800 things I could do to "catch up" to start my week off great. Instead, I decided the best thing was to sit on the couch and watch TV with my husband or just take a long nap or read. It has been wonderful to just rest on the Lord's Day which is what I think He would like us to do.