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Obsessive Thinking and Meditation

Obsessive Thinking and Meditation

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Joshua 1:8

What do you think about when you lay your head down on the pillow at night? In times of distress, I have become all too familiar with obsessive, uninvited thoughts. I do not want to dwell on the stressors of life, but there, in the dark, those thoughts burst in, taking control.

Most of us, in times of trial, have known the misery of these obsessive thoughts. We can, however, learn to choose what we think about. In fact, we are the only ones who can control what we think about.

I do not do it perfectly, but in my obsessive thinking, I have come to discover the power of meditation. In meditating, I make my mind dwell a constructive thing of my choosing, instead of surrendering to destructive, intrusive thoughts.

In today’s passage, the Israelites were commanded to meditate on God’s word day and night so that their lives may be transformed. This is what meditation does for us: it transforms our thought life and turns knowledge of a thing into a belief and a way of life.

If I simply read a passage, acknowledge it exists, and then never address it again, it has not become a belief. If, however, I hold that passage in my mind, contemplating what it means and asking God what He wants me to learn from it, He transforms my mind through that exercise. In meditating, I displace the destructive thoughts I do not want, and I replace them with constructive thoughts. In contemplating God’s word, I make the leap from knowledge to belief.

We will never do it perfectly and we will continue to struggle, but as often as we have destructive, obsessive thoughts, we can learn to turn our mind to God’s word. In doing so, God will transform our minds, growing life instead of misery.

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