16
Mar

Contemplative Meditation…

Poetry

Once upon a time I didn’t read much, other than Google links or reading magazine articles at the doctor’s office. (However, I do spend a lot of time there!) Today it’s different.

What changed? I started scheduling reading time.

Yep. Scheduling it.

This habit started when I was studying for my master’s. I juggled: working full-time, parenting part-time (I still had a teen at home.), attending classes, doing a few volunteer activities, attending church, and taking care of our family home (The maid thing hasn’t really worked for me!). The only way to make sure I studied as much as needed was to start with all the deadlines for each course and then plan “backwards” what reading, writing, and researching needed to be done in order to complete assignments on time.

This usually meant that I had deadlines for reading textbook chapters. This habit is now extended to my MIP Book Selection choices. In fact I even list my reading schedule, or plan, below all the details for how to obtain that book. I invite you to read with me!

My reading schedule or plan safely allows me to say that I read 12 books a year. But I usually do more than that, since I now have the freedom to read more often. For those times when I read more, I add in Christian fiction, biographies, classics I haven’t yet read, books written by my talented writer friends, and of course, my trusty Bible. (Actually, Bibles–I like several versions of the Good Book for certain purposes.)

Contemplative reading and meditation fits nicely into my reading plan. All you do is either read a passage of Scripture, a passage from a thought-provoking devotional book or another sort of Christian book for at least 20 minutes. (Most of us can find 20 minutes, even on a bad day!) Actually set a timer (preferably one with a gentle chime/tune alarm or buzzer).

During that 20 minutes ask God to make certain phrases “jump out” at you as you read. Does something resonate for you that surprises you? Is there a word or phrase that stops you as you read? (If not, get another cup of coffee and read it again.)

When the chime or buzzer goes off, reset the timer for another 20 minutes, begin to pray and ask God to “elaborate” on the word(s) or phrase(s) that jumped out at you. Be patient and strive to silence the thoughts in your head about carpool, work, the errands that haven’t been run and the tasks on your to do list.

At first, this will be difficult–not going to lie. That’s okay. Just offer this time to God and say “You have the “floor”, Lord. What do you want me to know or experience?” In time God will honor your intentions to set aside some time for Him and begin speaking quietly inside you. It’s similar to your conscience or intuition talking to you.

Once you get the hang of that, you may notice something else happening–another quiet, calm voice is there; one you KNOW is not you either because you would never think that or because there is just a Godlike quality to it. A Scripture may come to mind or just a rather formal, kind of voice saying something very wise. Sometimes God takes you on a trip to another place in your mind; sometimes I even feel as if the inside of my head is becoming “3-D” and I am actually walking through a place I would never conjure up myself.

I highly recommend, as the timer sounds again, you write/draw about prayer time for 2 reasons: you may forget it over time and God may give you further details. I set my timer yet again and it’s amazing what else the Lord chooses to say. You can write or draw it. (It’s okay if you’re not Rembrandt or C. S. Lewis. Five-year-olds draw better than me.) This is your journal–no one has to see this except you. If it will make sense to you 30 days from now, then who cares!

I know what you’re thinking: An entire hour reading, praying and journal-reporting? I don’t have that kind of time! But you really do. If you have to, ask God to give you moments when you can think about what you read more intently. Is there a work task you can pretty much “sleepwalk through” because you’ve done it so often? Guess what–you just found your prayer time. Is there a housekeeping task that bores you to tears, like folding laundry, vacuuming, or filing receipts? Then, let God do some “talking” during that time.

Can’t write about your prayer time right away? Ask God to bring to mind the things He wants you to remember when you do have 20 minutes at the end of your day. Since I’m chronically forgetful, I didn’t think this would work for me, but it’s amazing how great my memory gets when I put Him in charge of it!

Do I think it’s better if you can devote an uninterrupted hour to this? Yes, I do. But God gets that you’re busy, that people and things interrupt you, and that you have a life! So, do what you can do when you can do it. If you only get one such time in each week, so be it. There are weeks when this is true of me, even now. And if you fail miserably one week, forgive yourself and try again next week. Just don’t give up.

Oh…and you just read something of a Christian nature for 20 minutes. Gotcha. 😉

Friday’s Post: They left…

You Might Also Like: Looking for God in Your Journal; Homeostasis and Change; and What Will You Teach Me?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 11:49 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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