Centering on the Lord

Centering on the Lord

Monday was a very windy day and my deodar cedar trees were blowing back and forth like crazy, the way the pandemic blows my thoughts to and fro.  The branches on my trees are flexible, bending dramatically up and down, side to side.  My mind bounces from one thing to another in similar fashion.  Interestingly, despite the trees’ branches waving ferociously, the trees’ trunks stay stable and keep the trees secure.  When my thoughts dart from one thing to another, I know I need strength in the core of my being like that tree trunk provides for the branches.  I need centering on the Lord.  Sometimes called contemplative prayer, centering prayer is a spiritual discipline that helps us experience God’s presence even in the middle of the day, even in the midst of turmoil.

If we can stop for even just a few minutes and be still with God in the depths of our being, without agenda, He can settle us like those tree branches come to rest as soon as the wind subsides.  When we sit quietly with the Lord and thoughts bubble up in our minds, we can identify them and release them to God.  There’s no use fighting distractions, so try picturing your concerns running off your shoulders or fingertips.  Quieting yourself as best you can, focus on inhaling the Spirit and exhaling your concerns.  Then invite God into whatever comes to mind, positive or negative, and give it over to Him.  It helps to have a prayer word or phrase to help draw you back into God’s presence when your mind wanders, as it invariably will. (My Rock, My Refuge, My Good Shepherd, or simply Jesus.)   As we sit with the Lord and let go of controlling the time, trusting Him to make of it what He wants, moving from our heads to our hearts, He can center us on Him and reset our rhythm.

When I’m centered on God, I’m secure in Him and I’m not so prone to overthinking.  If anxious thoughts do creep in, I can acknowledge them for what they are and release them, so they don’t shake my security.  Only the Lord can center me.  The pandemic may be like the wind rustling through my branches, but the Lord is like the strong tree trunk, keeping me stable through this storm.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
    the righteous run to it and are safe.

Proverbs 18.10