By the Disciple Like You Mean It Summer Cohort, 2023
(Edited by Justin Rossow)
All of the myths in this post came from students in the course, as did most of the explanations of why these common myths need to be busted. I filled in some blanks, where necessary, and cleaned up a little grammar here or there, but these responses came directly from the people going through the Disciple Like You Mean It training. Responses like these are just one reason I love being part of this course!
More Meditation Myths to Bust
Meditation Myth #7A: “I must remember every verse and have them on the tip of my tongue.”
Sometimes it takes me several times reading before the content sticks. Whatever the reason, staying in the habit will eventually allow it to stick. Besides, the Spirit gives us words to say when we need them.
And Meditation Myth #7B is like it: “You don’t have a genuine love of God’s Word if you don’t memorize it.”
I DO love God’s Word and I do meditate on it, but MAN, do I struggle with memorizing it! And when I get too focused on the memorization, I lose focus on the digestion of it.
Meditation Myth #8: “I need to cover a certain amount of Scripture in each session.”
Sometimes Jesus has a single verse or idea that He wants me to focus on for a time. I can often chew on a single verse better all day than a whole chapter.
Editor’s note: Martin Luther says much the same when talking about Scripture and meditation. Sometimes one word or phrase is all you get through, and that’s OK.
Meditation Myth #9A: “I need to be in a certain mindset to meditate.”
I can be anxious, afraid, angry, etc. and still meditate. I just need to lay whatever is occupying me on Jesus and ask that He clear my head/heart and speak to me.
And Meditation Myth #9B is like it: “I have to be in step with God in order to communicate with Him.”
So when I’m sinful and need Jesus most, is when I feel most reluctant about coming to Him.
Editor’s note: We sometimes get stuck because we somehow believe that we have to get our act together or clean up our lives BEFORE we come to Jesus. But that’s just backwards. As we begin to notice what’s actually going on in our thinking, feeling, believing, and behaving, and invite Jesus into THAT–that’s when real growth can start. As long as you are so good you don’t need Jesus, or you refuse to need Jesus until you are good enough, you’ll stay stuck.
Meditation Myth #10: “Once I’m distracted and off subject, I can’t return to the same spot.”
Kinda like life distracted my time with God, and when I come back He’s no longer there.
Editor’s note: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, building on Luther, suggests that you notice distractions as you meditate on God’s Word, and then turn those distractions into prayer requests.
Meditation Myth #11: “I shouldn’t bring my problems to God because I have so many blessings.”
Editor’s note: This Meditation Myth was submitted without further comment, but I have heard some version of this so often, I wanted to include it. I think maybe GPA thinking is at the heart of this misconception: if our lives are all being graded on a curve, and I’m doing way better than most people around me, I should be fine and my (comparatively) small problems shouldn’t bother me. GPS thinking invites us to notice where we are, and invite Jesus into it: “Lord, it feels like I should be grateful, and I am, but I’m also really struggling with this thing. What do you think about that?”
Meditation Myth #12: “You shouldn’t use your cell phone during church.”
I was taken aback when my granddaughter brought out her cell phone during the sermon. It just seemed rude and disruptive to others who were trying to pay attention to the pastor’s words. Ha! I finally realized that she was taking notes on the sermon! This helped me try to be more open to what others do, even if I don’t understand.
Meditation Myth #13A: “Reading a devotional about God’s Word counts for reading God’s word.”
Devotionals are great and helpful, but if we only read about others’ thoughts about God’s word and don’t actually read the Word ourselves, and become saturated in it instead of just sprinkled with a verse here and there, we can miss out.
And Meditation Myth #13B is a balancing opposite: “Daily devotions or devotional books written by others are for ‘milk not meat’ Christians.”
This thinking minimizes the opportunities we have to learn from others in spending time in God’s Word.
Editor’s note: These two different perspectives can both be myths that need to be busted. On the one hand, the pressure to read the Bible or the whole Bible can actually get in the way of engaging God’s Word in, with, and under devotional books, blogs, or a conversation with a friend. On the other hand, only reading reports about how other people encountered the Word can leave us with a second-hand relationship to Scripture. We want to elevate both the role of Scripture in the lives of believers, and the role of other people in engaging Scripture. Reading the Bible is supposed to be a team sport! You are supposed to engage God’s Word with other people. You are, in fact, supposed to need help!
To discover more about the Disciple Like You Mean It online experience, visit https://dlymi.findmynextstep.org/.