“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” –Lin Yutang
Contemplation. What ideas roll through your mind when you hear this word? Do relaxing sounds surface? How does contemplating make you feel?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, contemplation means “looking back thoughtfully at something for a long time.” Often, when we think of this word, spiritual monks and nuns in peaceful poses quickly come to mind.
Unfortunately, contemplation is a lost art in today’s fast-paced world. We live driven by exhausting activities and grueling tasks that rule and enslave us.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:1-3 ESV)
On the seventh day, God – Creator of heaven and earth – paused to rest. This was a special time that He set apart and blessed. The word blessed implies being in a happy state of mind. And He called this special blessed period of rest the Sabbath.
After completing all that He created, Elohim, the all-powerful Creator, paused to contemplate and celebrate His contribution made through creation.
He knew that what He created would uniquely deliver value and make this empty planet void of beauty a better place. And He declared it indeed to be a very good thing! What a picture of the Remarkable Life by design in action.
Life is hard and often you need rhythms of respite. REST—a rest from within the depths of the soul – keeps you from being overwhelmed, burnt out, and bitter because of stressful situations. This type of rest fosters safety as it moves you towards contemplation, bringing greater clarity, compassion, and calm.
Let’s look closely at the art of contemplation and how it can invite more peace and tranquility into our lives. As women who are challenged to live in the fast lane and juggle priorities, we need to view contemplative living as a necessity.
It can help slow us down, bringing us back to the essence of our purpose – to worship God and practice enjoying His presence.
Contemplation means rest, suspension of activity, withdrawal into the mysterious interior solitude in which the soul is absorbed in the immense and fruitful silence of God and learns something of the secret of His perfections less by seeing than by fruitive love. – Thomas Merton
From the beginning of creation we were designed for contemplative living. And it’s time we start living this way.
1. What does a contemplative life look like?
It calls for living in stillness and quietness. In the words of the Apostle Paul, it means “striving to be at peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14) and when you “make it your goal to live a quiet life,” (1 Thess. 4:11-12).
2. What does it take to live a contemplative life?
It’s not possible to live peacefully with others without finding true peace in God. Contemplative living starts with creating time to be alone with God through meditation and regularly enjoying God’s presence. As you spend more time with Him, you will humbly begin to feel more content with living a contemplative life.
3. Why should I aim to live a contemplative life?
Scripture calls us to this kind of lifestyle where we continually focus our mind and our heart completely on God. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit can help you purposefully reflect and connect your true best self with the Lord.
Contemplate and sit in silence. Wait on God with a deep longing to be in His arms. Doing so produces a yearning in you to sip from His cup of grace and savor it.
There’s so much encouragement I want to give you about contemplation! So I’ve pulled from much of my own experiences and even my growing pains and share them in my 31-day devotional, Rest & Build. The first day kicks off with contemplation as its focus because it’s just that essential to a restful and fruitful life which what the remarkable is about.
Grow deeply this month as you experience contemplative living. Make sure you capture the clarity that comes through reflection from the soul. And listen to God’s voice for those next restful steps that leads you to a fully activated life.