Look Back to Part 1
Your mind never stops working. Talk about exhausting! But you need something more than just a mental diversion to quiet its noise. You need to think long and deeply about the truths of Scripture in the context of what is actually happening in your life. When you practice biblical meditation in this way, you can actually rewire your brain and change the way it looks at the circumstances of your life!
And when you change the way your mind thinks, as we’ll see today, you can actually change the rest of you as well. Sound too good to be true? It’s not!
But first, think about how the rest of you reacts to all the noise in your mind. What attitudes arise? Anger, fear, sarcasm, angst, overwhelm? What kinds of choices do you make from your heart? Unconscious ones, detrimental ones, apathetic ones? Some of you may even have an actual physical reaction. Maybe your breath becomes shallow or your heart races or you can feel your blood pressure rising.
Why is this? Because every other part of you is connected to your mind. Sometimes we think of all the different parts of us individually and compartmentalize them, but there is something that pulls all of you together into one cohesive unit.
That is your soul.
Your soul brings together all the aspects of the self (mind, will, emotions, conscience, body). Some have compared it to the computer processor that is in the background, running and connecting everything else.
Your soul is the part of you that is bombarded every day both externally and internally. People, situations, and media bombard your soul. Expectations, inner dialogue and hormones (especially for us lucky ladies!) bombard you from within. There is rarely a moment when there is not something bearing down on your mind or heart or battling against your conscience or your physical body.
No wonder the biblical writers described the condition of the soul as
- Weary and languishing (Jeremiah 31:25)
- Cast down and in turmoil (Psalm 42:11)
- Embittered (Psalm 73:21)
Can you relate?
Now before you become discouraged at your “lack of spirituality” to withstand this assault, realize that this is a condition of humanity. It’s part of what it means to be human. Jesus Himself experienced His soul being bombarded. Look at how He described it to His disciples –
“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38 ESV)
This was spoken the night He was betrayed. He knew what was going to happen. He knew this was the first step to the cross. His soul was being bombarded in ways that we cannot begin to imagine. You can be sure that the enemy was in full-blown attack mode, attacking His mind, heart and body.
And so what did Jesus do? He withdrew. He poured out His heart to His Father. He set His mind on truth. Truth that enabled Him to withstand the onslaught to His soul and walk the road to Calvary to secure our salvation and our entrance into the very presence of God Himself.
You now have this same opportunity.
Every time chaos fills your soul; every time life becomes too much to bear; every time things are spinning out of control. You too can pour out your heart to your Father. You too can set your mind on truth. You too can experience your mind quieting and your soul calming. This is part of what Jesus secured for you through His death on the cross!
But it is a choice. And it’s not a choice that comes naturally. It’s not a choice that is typically an ingrained habit. It’s a learned choice. A choice that requires discipline and practice. But it’s what we need.
Imagine that every time your soul is bombarded, every time you need a mental break, you have two distinct paths in front of you.
You can either
- look for a mental diversion – a way to step out of the circumstances you are experiencing or
- Pause & Think – thinking Scripture in the context of your life and talking to Jesus about it
Look at the benefits of choosing to Pause & Think.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…” (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV)
Rest for your soul. Doesn’t that sound delightful? Isn’t this what you are longing for? Doesn’t it fill you with hope?
This is what God wants for you even in the midst of the onslaught of your soul. One of the definitions of rest is a “mental or spiritual calm”. Your circumstances might not change. But you change. Your mind changes. And as a result, the rest of you – your soul – changes as well.
Biblical meditation. What a gift! A gift that can counteract the effects of your soul being bombarded daily. A gift that can rewire your brain and renew your mind, transforming how you think about life. A gift that can you lead you into greater intimacy with God.
You see, biblical meditation isn’t just an antidote to this crazy stressed out life we’re living. It’s not the band-aid that we use to cover the superficial cuts and scrapes that are a part of normal life. No. Biblical meditation leads us into relationship with the God who created us. The God who wants to heal what is wrong deep within us.
As we think Scripture in the context of our lives, we are also talking to Jesus about it in an honest and open way. We cry out for what we need. We’re honest when we can’t take it anymore. We confess that He’s asking of us what we are unable to do. We see ourselves at our weakest and acknowledge it to Him. And it’s then that we find that He is ready to do in us and for us what we never can.
He will carry. He will sustain. He will accomplish. For when we are weak, then He is strong.
Biblical meditation leads you to know Jesus better and trust Him more. It’s not just an academic exercise. It connects you in a very personal and individual way to the lover of your soul.
But first, you have to make a choice. Every day, multiple times a day you stand a crossroads. Will you seek a diversion or will you Pause & Think – thinking Scripture in the context of whatever is happening and talking to Jesus about it?
Stop and think about your day today. Can you identify times you needed a mental diversion or felt your soul being bombarded? What did you choose to do? How did that help or make things worse? (Don’t allow this reflection to send you on a guilt trip! Awareness is the first step toward change.)
Ask God to make you aware of times you need to Pause & Think in order to counteract what is happening in you and to you.
In Part 3 of this series, we’re going to have a case study of sorts. We’ll take a look at a biblical prophet whose soul is being bombarded. We’ll see him turn his mind to God. And then we’ll see the effects of that choice in his life.
Spoiler Alert: He goes from being hopeless to having hope restored!