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Mindfulness Meditation in the Christian Life

How to use mindfulness meditation in the Christian Life to overcome anxiety.

During a season of debilitating anxiety, I tried mindfulness meditation which basically focuses on your own breaths and body sensations to calm yourself.  The app I used has a soundtrack of birds singing and water gently lapping which by itself I find very calming.   I found it very helpful and believe that mindfulness meditation can be applied to the Christian life to overcome anxiety.

Mindfulness Meditation - The Basics

There are several meditation sessions that focus on different techniques of dealing with anxious thoughts or anxiety in general all of which simply bring the person back to focus on breathing.  There is no chanting or special poses, just simply being in tune to your breathing, your body's sensations and your thoughts.

Non-reactivity teaches you not to react to your anxious thoughts, but to just let them "float by like a cloud".  I like that imagery.  Rather then becoming hyperfocused on a worry, just let it go and breathe.

During this particular exercise, the person leading the meditation shared this story which I thought was a great illustration...

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "Maybe," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "Maybe," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe," said the farmer.

I don't know about you, but I can quickly and dramatically react, especially to certain situations.  If I were to put a Biblical spin on this parable, I would say that we are called to trust the Lord.  We cannot know what His plans are, but we can know that they are good, and therefore not overreact or read into any situation.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Noting teaches you to acknowledge what you are feeling - fear, anxiety, apprehension, happiness, planning, ruminating, etc.

Nature of change teaches you that sensations of the body can change within minutes or even seconds and in the same way, your circumstances and anxiety can change just like that.

Pausing teaches that when an anxious thought pops into your mind to pause it and just put your focus back to your breathing.

Mindfulness Meditation - Applied Biblically 

I've added Scripture meditation to some of these exercises, especially in my daily life.  

To be non-reactive to anxious thoughts, I take a deep breath and put my trust in the Lord for whatever I am concerned about...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; 
I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

To note anxious thoughts, I acknowledge how I am feeling and then remember God's promise for that emotion.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4

The nature of change reminds me that this too shall pass, and I remember...

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
    you have loosed my sackcloth
    and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:11-12

To pause anxious thoughts I remember to...

...destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, 
and take every thought captive to obey Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5

How amazing is it that every question, every worry, every doubt, every circumstance, every trial has it's solution in Christ Jesus!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

{In my post, This Too Shall Pass, I shared an insight that I gained during one of my mindfulness meditation sessions that brought great encouragement for anxious times.  You can read it HERE.}

May we treasure the word of His mouth more than our daily bread.  

Every verse in the Canon of Scripture brings with it peace and encouragement.   You will never regret time spent in the Word or in meditation upon it.

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  1. This is excellent for those who have anxiety caused by anxious thoughts. However, there is also a "Clinical Anxiety" caused by physiological factors. For example, faulty brain chemistry can cause symptoms of anxiety. This is totally separate from cognitively caused anxiety. Cognitively caused anxiety responds to cognitive therapy. Anxiety with physical symptoms, such as panic attacks, racing pulse, irregular heart beat, etc. responds to anti-anxiety medications, healthier lifestyle, adequate sleep, and exercise. All symptoms of anxiety should first be evaluated by tests such as complete blood chemistry and metabolic profile and examination by a physician. Something as simple as hyperthyrodism can cause symptoms of anxiety. Conclusion: all symptoms of anxiety are not caused by faulty thinking or spiritual problems. Hope this helps someone who struggles with anxiety and has tried everything else. God bless!

    1. Hi Bev,

      Thanks for sharing your insights.

      And thanks for stopping by.

  2. Great words of encouragement for those who let thoughts run amok. I love to meditate of scripture. I think we tend to forget that many things that the world has tainted started in the Bible. We do need to be cautious that we don't take things into where the enemy wants to take it. Great post! Many Thanks!

    1. I like how you phrased that. Indeed, "thoughts run amok".

      Very well said.

      Thank you!

      And thanks for stopping by.

  3. I've found Christian meditation to be helpful as well. I particularly love the scripture from Philippians 4:6-9. I'm writing a series right now on my blog on Overcoming Overwhelm which has me thinking about some of these thoughts you've shared!

    1. Hi Amy, Oh! That sounds like it will be a very good series!

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Wow, I loved the story about the Taoist farmer and his attitude. I, too struggle so much with anxiety. I know it is not pleasing to the Lord, and I am trying so hard to change. The app you are using sounds interesting. Surely God is our refuge and strength in every time of trouble, and if only I could learn to let things go and release them into His hands, how much more peaceful life would be. Thank you for this encouragement, my friend. God bless you. :)

    1. Hi Cheryl, You've been on my heart so much dear friend as I know you too can relate to the struggle with anxiety. We are kindred in so many ways. <3


      You are very welcome! Sending you much love.

  5. OH THOSE SCRIPTURES. Thank you. On an anxious morning. xo

    1. Hi Susan, Praising God that His Words brought you comfort during an anxious morning. Praying for an anxiety free weekend for you. :-)


  6. So good... being Mindful is such a lost art for so many! We need the reminder... and the Scriptures just bring it all home!

    1. Hi Karrilee, I only just recently heard of mindfulness and now I hear and read about it all the time!

      Indeed. God's Word is the very best thing to meditate upon. :-)

  7. This is really helpful, Karen. Thank you! Love and blessings to you!

  8. Glad you have found something that calms when you have the panic attacks. I've had somewhat similar in past years. Will have to look up an app for when they return. I think my beginning to read the Bible in earnest has helped tremendously as I do tend to be a worrier. Have a nice week ahead.

    1. Peabea, Me too! :-)

      Indeed, my time in the Word has definitely reduced my worry. My anxious seasons seem to come from a different place. I should probably be worked up medically too.

      Wishing you a blessed weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  9. I love how you've married mindfulness meditation with the truths found in God's word. The verses you picked are very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Carlie, Thank you. I'm so glad you found this post helpful. I appreciate your kind words about it.

      You are very welcome.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  10. My son has a stressful job daily but right now it's extra stressful because the are working against an upcoming dead line and the man who knows the most about it quit. So now the workers are looking to Jared for answers. His Dad and I have been feeding my text to do some of the things you have written here, good stuff. Thanks.

    1. Hi Betty, So sorry to hear that your son is in a stressful season at work. Praising God for parents like you who are encouraging him on how to manage his stress.

      Praying that the Lord will give your son peace in the midst of the deadlines.



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