A Christian Meditation on Interrupting Busyness with Silence
This is a time to get away from all the mind distractions — all the focus distractions — of your phone and scrolling through social media or email or the news. This is a quiet time to re-integrate and re-calibrate your soul (mind, body and spirit) with the life-giving presence of God’s Spirit. That’s the purpose of Christian meditation. If your podcast app is set to skip the silent sections, disable that for this podcast.(Dr. Rachel Zoffness — MS, PhD, is faculty at the UCSF School of Medicine, where she teaches pain education for medical residents and interns, and serves on the steering committee of the American Association of Pain Psychology. She writes in The Pain Management Workbook):Relaxed diaphragmatic breathing uses your diaphragm and stomach muscles. When you belly breathe, you train your breath to go lower and slower. This increases your blood oxygen level, improves circulation to facilitate healing, lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, turns off your SNS to calm your body, and helps reduce pain volume [if you deal with chronic pain]. Throughout your day you can check which type of breathing you’re doing—stressed versus relaxed—and catch yourself when your breathing gets stressed and shallow in your chest. The moment you notice that you’re chest breathing is the moment you can do a very quick short meditation to change your physiology, shut off your SNS stress response, and lower your anxiety dial by breathing lower and slower instead.Psalms 62:5-7 (ESV)5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,for my hope is from him.6 He only is my rock and my salvation,my fortress; I shall not be shaken.7 On God rests my salvation and my glory;my mighty rock, my refuge is God.This is a great example of the kind of meditation God’s people have been doing for thousands of years. It’s a typical psalm of David — words with lots of imagery that appeal to our imagination.But verse 5 is also a particular kind of meditation in the Bible…— “for God alone, O my soul, wait in silence…” He’s not directly addressing God. And he’s not really addressing his readers either. He’s addressing himself. Well, specifically he’s speaking to his own soul. In the Hebrew understanding of soul, The way that Hebrew word is used in the Hebrew Scriptures also included the body. The whole self. He’s telling his whole self — his mind and his body — to “wait in silence” — to be quiet. The NIV translates it, “find rest in God.“ Think about that phrase right now and use your imagination to feel it into your body and mind. Find rest in God. Wait in silence.That word silence. Find rest. Quieting your mind from racing into all these other stories either in the past or in the future. We so often use our imagination to ruminate on past conversations, failures, mistakes, sins, events that make us angry or resentful or insecure. Or we use our imagination to create stories about a potential future that causes anxiety or worry or fear or anger fantasies. But here this Psalm is calling you to focus your mind on this present moment. Using your imagination to sense the presence of God in this present moment. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence. Find rest. V. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory.And feel the weight of your body letting go of holding yourself up. Feel the weight of your whole body giving in to gravity and resting in silence. You are completely resting on God 100% right now. Feeling the weight of your entire body resting on God right now. Feeling the weight of all your anxiety and tension and stress resting on God right now. This is imagination. This is meditation. But feel this imagination. Remember the verse we looked at in our last episode…Mark 1:35 (NIV)Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. You are in a solitary place with God right now. You are alone with God right now. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence. Find rest in God alone. On God rests my salvation and my glory.This is utterly countercultural in our day.John Mark Comer writes about…Michael Zigarelli from the Charleston Southern University School of Business conducted the Obstacles to Growth Survey of over twenty thousand Christians across the globe, and he concluded that busyness was a major destroyer of a Christian’s spiritual life. He writes, “It may be the case that (1) Christians are assimilating to a culture of busyness, hurry and overload, which leads to (2) God becoming more marginalized in Christians’ lives, which leads to (3) a deteriorating relationship with God, which leads to (4) Christians becoming even more vulnerable to adopting secular assumptions about how to live, which leads to (5) more conformity to a culture of busyness, hurry and overload. And then the cycle begins again.”So much of the Bible is written to activate our imagination so that we can feel and experience our connection with God. So let’s imagine and feel this right now. Imagine God being the fortress behind which right now you are taking refuge. Your body. Your life. Your future. Your past. Your concerns. Your worries. Fears. Insecurities. Imagine right now how God is bigger than any anxiety you have. Any fear. God is your fortress. God is your refuge. Your salvation and your glory rests on God alone. Imagine this right now. Imagine being behind God as your fortress. Imagine God being your refuge right now. Feel this into your body. Feel the entire weight of your body and your life and your past and your future and all of your concerns completely resting on God right now.You will not be shaken. You can let go of all fight or flight in your body. You can let go of anxiety. You can let go of insecurities. Tell your body to Rest on God. On God rests your life and your salvation and your glory and your well-being and your joy and your past and your future.Whatever chaos and uncertainty and threats are in your life right now, God alone is your rock and your salvation and your fortress and you shall not be shaken. Your mighty rock — your refuge is God.Whatever pressures you’re feeling right now – on God rests your salvation and your glory. Your hope is from him.Who can you share this podcast with? If you found this episode helpful, consider sharing it on social media or texting it to a friend you think might benefit from it.Follow Dave Cover on Twitter @davecoverFollow A Bigger Life on Twitter @ABiggerLifePodOur audio engineer is Diego Huaman.This podcast is a ministry of The Crossing, a church in Columbia, Missouri, a college town where the flagship campus of the University of Missouri is located.