In my last post I explored the matter of rumination, a practice of cows in which they chew repeatedly what they eat.
Rumination can be psychologically damaging. When a person keeps going over the same thought or problem repeatedly, depression and anxiety result.
Spiritual rumination, known as meditation, is the best antidote I know for counteracting psychologically harmful rumination—dealing with nagging worries, fears, regrets, feelings of inadequacy.
Oftentimes, when I feel lead to blog about a certain topic, it seems like the Lord gives me an opportunity to put into practice what I’m writing about. That’s what happened a few days ago.
It was the middle of the night. I wakened and almost immediately began worrying about a situation. The more I ruminated upon my concern, the deeper and darker my thoughts became.
Before long, I felt a gentle whisper in my soul, alerting me to what was happening.
Although I resist giving step-by-step spiritual remedies because I honor the way God speaks personally and differently to each of us, I would like to share the steps I took that evening since this same process has worked for me many, many times.
Instead of continuing to ruminate on the troubling thought, I turn to a Scripture on which I’ve meditated countless times.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6 & 7 NIV).
1. Acknowledge my ruminating thoughts to God
“God, you know I’m anxious about __ (my concern de jour)______.
2. Make my requests known to God
“Instead of worrying about this, I’m asking you to ________(I’m not shy about asking God for the outcome I feel would be best.)___
3. I am intentional to give specific thanks to God. It’s easy to lose site of gratitude when our minds are filled with anxiety. Research has shown that practicing intentional thanksgiving changes our brain chemistry. I love it when modern scientific research confirms truths of the ancient words of Scripture.
4. Here’s the part of this process I don’t understand—which transcends my human understanding. An unexplainable peace quiets my anxiety, replacing concerns.
5. If the troubling thought re-enters, I repeat steps 1-4.
If you find yourself caught in a cycle of harmful rumination, I hope these steps will be helpful. As I close, I’m praying for you…