Sharla Fritz on Is Meditation Dangerous?

Is Meditation Dangerous?

Contributed by Sharla Fritz

Is meditation dangerous?

Is meditation dangerous?

I remember clearly when a friend mentioned he was seeing a counselor who recommended meditation.

“Clear your mind,” the counselor instructed. “Try to empty it completely.”

Red flags immediately shot up in my own mind. “Empty your mind” did not sound like good advice in light of Jesus’ warning that an empty mind may be an invitation for evil to take up residence (Luke 11:24-26). So I warned my friend that this kind of meditation could be dangerous.

But not all meditation is alarming and unsafe. Christian meditation doesn’t aim to empty the mind. Instead, Christian meditation focuses on filling the heart by contemplating God’s Word.

Think of meditation like enjoying a rich, European chocolate. You don’t pop in the delicacy and gulp it down as quickly as you can. Instead, you savor it, let it melt on your tongue, and enjoy the rich flavor as long as the candy lasts.

When I’m meditating on Scripture, I don’t try to read through God’s Word as quickly as I can. Instead I take a small portion and deliberately savor it. I let the meaning melt into my heart.

One way to meditate on Scripture is method I call SACRED reading. Choose a small portion of Scripture (about 6-8 verses) and follow these steps spelled out by the word SACRED. (Some Scripture selections to try: Matthew 5:3-10, Ephesians 1:15-20, Philippians 4:4-9)

  • Silence your thoughts. Begin by quieting your spirit. At first your thoughts may seem to crowd out any quietness, but let them pass through your mind and eventually the chaos in your head will die down
  • Attend to the passage. Read your chosen verses. Read slowly, out loud if possible. Pause when God seems to be highlighting a certain sentence or phrase.
  • Contemplate the Word. Meditate on the passage, especially on any words the Holy Spirit seems to directing to you today. Ask yourself, “What is my truest reaction to these words: resistence? sadness? conviction? joy? peace? thanksgiving?”
  • Respond to the text. After you have taken time to listen, pray. Pour out your heart to God, responding to what He has spoken to you. Express your joy or sorrow, your gratefulness or fear. Spill out any doubts and anxieties.
  • Exhale and rest. Read the text again and rest in the love of God. Receive His peace.
  • Dwell in the Word. Don’t shut the Bible and leave the words behind. Pick out one truth that you can carry into your day, one promise that will help you live out what God has spoken to you.

This kind of meditation will not empty your mind; it will fill it with God’s peace. This kind of meditation is not dangerous; it will leave your heart and mind more secure in God’s love and abiding presence.

For More on Soul Spa

For more about meditation on Scripture, check out Sharla Fritz’s new book Soul Spa: 40 Days of Spiritual Renewal and visit her website to get her free Soul Spa Kit: 59 Ideas For Creating Your Own Spiritual Retreat.

blog-banner-email-footerAbout Sharla

Sharla Fritz, author of Soul SpaSharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of four books including Soul Spa, Divine Design, Bless These Lips, and Divine Makeover, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace. She is passionate about helping women take their next step of faith.

Find out more about Sharla on her website: www.sharlafritz.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharlafritzauthor

Twitter handle: @SharlaFritz

Soul Spa: 40 Days of Spiritual Renewal is available at CPH.org and Amazon

 

 

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Author and Book Highlight: Sharla Fritz – Divine Makeover

Sharla Fritz, Divine Makeover, www.natalieeastman.com/blog

Author: Sharla Fritz

As a former youth minister for eight years in full-time capacity in two different, very large churches, I worked with young women ages 12-22, between the 500 or so girls who were in the ministries at any given time. In addition, we had several dozen year-round female volunteers and usually around 11 female summer staff we hired each year. From those experiences, as well as my own, I believe in building up young women in biblical and theological acuity and understanding and that this – understanding themselves in light of their identity as image-bearers of god – is their best foundation for their correct (and, yes, positive!) self-image.

At my writers guild annual meeting in Chicago last year, I met a really neat colleague named Sharla Fritz. She struck me as truly genuine and extremely approachable, as well as compassionate and biblically astute. So, it didn’t surprise me when I learned she had some books that reach out to women and girls, encouraging them to know the Word better and in such a way that it transforms they way they view both God and themselves.

On Sharla’s website, I read “In her writing and speaking, her message enables women to:

  • Dig into God’s Word
  • Throw out unattractive and uncomfortable attitudes
  • Embrace new mind-sets that are God-pleasing and freeing
  • Draw closer to God’s heart
  • Discover God’s design for their lives”

When I had the opportunity to feature her book and an interview with her on my blog, for her book’s blog tour, I jumped at it, even though I’ve never hosted anyone on a blog tour before. Having already had an opportunity to preview one of her books, I knew her books were something I wanted to support – something you can really look forward to reading and using as a study. The book I’m featuring today, Divine Makeover, is one you can give with confidence as a gift to a young woman.

Without further ado, I’ll let Sharla tell you about her book Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.

Why do you think God prompted you to write this book?

After my first Bible study, Divine Design, came out, I heard about some groups of mothers and daughters doing the book together. It was so exciting that women of all ages could come together and discover their true beauty in Christ. But I thought young women would enjoy having a book that taught the same principles while using examples of their own struggles. So I wrote Divine Makeover—essentially Divine Design for a younger generation.

What struggles do you see in the younger generation? 

I remember as a teen thinking that no one would ever think I was beautiful, no one would ever love me. Almost all of us go through an awkward stage where we doubt our beauty and worth. In this age, the emphasis on physical beauty is greater than ever before. Every year hundreds of thousands of teens are so dissatisfied with their looks that they resort to plastic surgery. I’m hoping that Divine Makeover will help young women discover their worth not in the clothing of their character — not what clothes they physically wear.

How did you obtain the young women’s point of view? 

Admittedly, I am a long way from the teen years! So I met with some amazing teens at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lisle, Illinois every week. They candidly shared their views and struggles. I was truly impressed with this group of young women who clearly loved the Lord. Their faith and commitment to serve was very inspiring. Some of their words and stories are included in the book.

What are some of the topics discussed? 

Divine Makeover is a “What Not to Wear” for the soul. It talks about hanging up the uniform and letting go of your inner control freak. It encourages young women to get rid of the handbag of worry and live with an attitude of trust. I also talk about three modern myths of modesty: It’s old-fashioned, it means wearing a burlap bag, and it means following a strict set of clothing rules. Modesty is an enduring principle because the Bible tells us that “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Timothy 2:9). Because God’s Word never goes out of style, this advice is not just for women of Timothy’s day, but for us too.

You include some dramatic stories of teens who struggled with self-image. Tell us about them.  

Some young women graciously shared their stories with me. One young woman battled anorexia for a time. In the mirror, she saw herself as fat, even though she definitely wasn’t. She shares how she eventually discovered that she had become obsessed with food and a totally skewed view of her body. Eventually she learned to choose to see herself as God saw her—His much-loved daughter.

Another young woman discovered she had alopecia. She lost all of her hair. In this society that worships thick, long manes of hair, she struggled to see herself as beautiful. She doubted that any man would ever love her. She has never regained her hair, but she has regained a healthy self-image because of her trust in God.
Both of these women are now in their twenties and happily married.

What practical tips do you share with readers? 

The book concentrates on our inner beauty, but does have some fashion fun. Every chapter ends with some Fashion Finesse: a few words about finding the right clothes, building a wardrobe, and looking your best. Some of the practical tips include choosing a cute yet useful purse, finding your best colors, and discovering the best style of sweater for your shape. After the chapter on the prom dress of pride, I included seven tips for a fabulous formal.

What one thing should potential readers know about this book? 

I pray that every girl who reads this book will take away one important truth: that in Christ she is beautiful. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we always look lovely in God’s looking glass. Our heavenly Father sees us not as we are, with our mammoth mistakes, our messy sins, our major bedhead. He sees us as we will be—perfect. The Bible tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Tell everyone a little more about yourself.

I’m a Christian speaker and author who loves to communicate the truth of God’s transforming grace. I love meeting women around the country at retreats and conferences. I live in the Chicago suburbs with my husband, who is the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church. Together we shared the adventure of homeschooling for 15 years with our two children. They are all grown up now and moved away from home. My daughter moved far from home—she now lives in China!

In my other life I am a church musician and piano teacher. I love traveling (especially to China!), going out to lunch with friends, and reading. If I’m not sitting at the piano or my computer you might find me at the thrift store stalking fabulous fashion finds.

 

Would you like a copy of Divine Makeover for your teenage daughter? 

Share your story and be entered to win a basket of goodies, including a copy of the book, gift card, and more.