The Gift of Pondering
This article was written and originally posted by Linda Tarman at www.conversationsforthejourney.com
In this season of life I find myself entering into a more contemplative life in the Spirit. I think this was brought about in part by a longing in my heart toward a deeper intimacy with God. To be honest, I didn’t have the inclination to “ponder” much in my younger years: I was full, I was occupied, I was preoccupied, I was working hard at “living the life.” But now, a few chapters later in my life, I find myself drawn to pondering (which could be translated as “meditation”).
Jesus certainly invites us to “ponder” in his use of storytelling through parables. You cannot grasp what he is saying without wondering about it, wandering around in it and swimming its depths. Even his use of the words “Consider,” as in “Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow…” and “Consider the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns…” invites us to stay awhile and allow the words to ruminate, resonate and re-form our lives and perspectives.
In our Western culture, we are not proficient in pondering. We are so focused on the end product (our goals and objectives) that we fail to enter into the process it takes to get there. We often miss what is in-between and in missing that, we have missed the point of it all…the living of our lives. Being present to the life we are living and being present to the movement of the Spirit in our life.
Pondering 101: I am going to suggest an exercise for those of you who don’t want to use the “Cliff Notes” approach to “pondering.” I invite you to read the following scripture in a “pondering” way (take your time and be fully present).
“I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
By paths they have not known,
I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
The rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do,
And I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
Some suggested “pondering” questions (but do not feel constrained by these):
What feelings come up for you as you ponder this scripture?
Is this scripture comforting or discomforting and why?
What would it mean to be blind? Is there any place where you feel blind?
What would it mean to be led? In what way is God leading you?
Is there a situation in your life that this speaks to?
What contrasts are present within (ie. Light vs darkness)
What mysteries are found in this scripture?
Where is the action and who is doing it?
Where is “non-action” present in this?
What is God saying to you through this?