It’s ironic that I would say that I’m not very good at being contemplative, seeing as I’m a writer and the senior editor for a meditation app. (Insert eye-roll emoji here.) I don’t mind silence. Where the rest of my family likes to have music in their ears 24/7, or they watch videos or scroll Pinterest (looking at you 20-something daughter), I often don’t even stream music when I’m driving in my car (much to the wonderment of my husband and above referenced daughter).
I know the great value of silence when trying to listen to the voice of God. But I also know that just because I don’t have something playing on my mobile devices doesn’t mean I’m being contemplative. My mind can be churning on other stuff.
Did you know that the Hebrew word most often used in the Old Testament for “meditate” literally means to chew on, like a cow chewing her cud? Ruminate. Mull over. Think. What is God revealing to me?
So when we talk about the contemplative life, we’re not just talking about solitude and quiet. We’re talking about noticing. Taking in what’s around us. Some people might call it mindfulness. We’re in the moment, we’re seeing the small things, we’re praising God for what he’s doing all the time all around us. We’re taking the time to ruminate, mull over what we’re seeing, reading, hearing.
I put a birdfeeder in my yard right outside my office window. Every day I watch my feathered friends come and enjoy the seed I provide for them. I see the lizards skittering all around, the squirrels trying to figure out how to get to the seeds; the roses in my rosebed just beyond the birdfeeder brimming with color. And I try not to pay attention to the weeds or the noisy mufflers of the cars driving by, or the annoying junk in my neighbor’s driveway.
I focus on what brings me joy. If I just sit watching for several minutes without writing a word, or answering an email, or responding to a need, then I’m just one step closer to that contemplative life I long for. Just a few minutes can restore my soul.
As our writers take on the topic of The Contemplative Life this month, ask yourself how you can be more intentional about your soul care today.
May you feel God’s presence as you read.
Editor in Chief