If you keep reading because you think I have a positive statement about the benefits of being stressed out. I DON’T!
I am the first to admit that I DO NOT LIKE STRESS. Somehow I have convinced myself that because I am a graduate of the United States Naval Academy that I should be able to manage stress very well. I credit my collegiate education with providing me the tools to be able to manage so much with so little time. It is true that the Service Academy experience equips you with being able to juggle a great deal of responsibility and commitment. But while I was equipped to do that I certainly wouldn’t say that I like experiencing the stress level that comes with the management skill.
I think because of my school experience I had become somewhat desensitized to my body’s notifications that I was reaching stress overload. But there is something that happens between the age of 35-40 that your body doesn’t let you ignore these signs anymore. And so I had to figure out what I was going to do about the amount of stress I was under. I found my answer in meditation and yoga. Now, I am not going to go into a long fact paper about the benefits of both. I am really a novice to the practice. I want to start a conversation about how it helps me keep stress at bay. Perhaps I may encourage the naysayers out there why I believe that a committed personal devotional life combined with the practice of meditative exercise is something we should take part in more often than we do.
First let me say, I am aware that meditation and specifically yoga exercise is connected to a practice of which I do not take part and that is the belief in Hinduism. That being said, the belief that meditation in all forms is connected to Hinduism is not my worldview. I’ve shared in previous blog posts how the internal conversations we have are important to our well-being. I submit to you that meditation is to me a form of cleansing our minds and a much-needed practice that we do not partake of because of the belief that this in some way yokes us to something or some other form of spirituality.
Some time back, I was in prayer and contemplating the meaning of a scripture that came to mind during that devotional time. I was praying to the Lord about how overwhelmed I was feeling and the answer that I believe I received in that time of devotion was that my mind was cluttered and in need of a cleanse. I believe the Lord spoke to me the need to cleanse my mind every day just as I clean my body every day. Shortly thereafter, I started researching online Christian meditation. I believe the Lord led me to Rhonda Jones Online, the Christian Meditator. It is through Rhonda that I learned what a negative impression the New Age Movement has left on the practice of meditation. So I really had to seek the Lord’s guidance with whether this was what the Holy Spirit was guiding me to do. I clearly heard in my spirit the words, “Not reading the Word of God each day is likened to not taking a bath each day.” Since FEB of this year, I have taken part in meditation and yoga during my morning devotion times and I can tell you that it has made a great difference on my body and my life. My morning routine generally looks something like this.
- I read a devotion from my First 5 App that is set to my morning mobile phone alarm.
- I get out of bed, take care of morning personal hygiene, grab some lemon water and head upstairs for my personal time.
- I speak a morning confession (written by a dear friend of mine) over my husband and my family.
- I do a 10 min yoga routine and finish up that 23 oz thermos of water
- I read The Holy Scriptures for about 15 min
- and end with one of the videos from The Christian Meditator YouTube Channel
The routine takes me about 45-55 mins each day but I tell you I can definitely feel a difference in my body and mind when I do it and especially when I do not. Bottom line, I think our mind needs this intentional time of rinsing with water. For me, that water comes in two forms: a thermos with a couple splashes of lemon juice and some quiet time of prayer and reflection on God’s word.
I don’t discredit the information out there that advises that we be careful about our involvement with different forms of meditative exercises. I advise that anyone interested in yoga or meditation do their own research just like I did. But I also say that we should not be so closed minded to think that there isn’t good in this for us. Spending intentional time in meditation and musing is one of the best productivity tools available to those who will use it. Here’s my Tweet-worthy statement on this one, “You need your heart and your mind to produce well. Meditation just helps make the pathway from one to the other less traffic congested.”
Would you agree that Christians generally have a disinterest in mediation practices? What do you believe on the subject? Share it with us in the comments.