Monday, January 17, 2011

Reverse psalms

I love reading the psalms. The authors start out frightened, hostile, or angry. Then they take a turn and begin to worship. Sadly, I'm not much like them.

I write "morning pages" nearly every day, an idea inspired by Julia Cameron's book on living creatively (The Artist's Way). I rarely get to writing first thing in the morning, as Julia demands. Instead, I'll pull our my journal and scribble three pages of whatever comes to mind... whenever I can get time to write. I make sure there's a cup of tea handy.

I'm no psalmist! I start by thanking God for provisions, resources, and the hopefulness of my faith, but it goes downhill from there. My thoughts wander to my to-do list, unfinished projects, feelings I wouldn't share with any sane friend or relative, and wishes for things that will never come true. My pen processes the blackness of my thoughts, the greyness of the day, and the smudges of hopes gone awry. 

When I close the journal (whew, my three pages are done done done today!!!), I am often unsettled and upset. 

That's when I reach for the psalms. They reorient me to what is true, worthwhile, and lasting. Reality is not just an endless checklist, not the disappointments, not the unrealized dreams. God pulls me into his presence as I speak aloud the ancient praises. The psalms give me confidence and balance. They remind me that our concerns and little tantrums are small ripples in life's sea, compared to God's goodness, the everlasting Father's love, and the ability of the Prince of Peace to direct history and run the universe.

I am so thankful that God preserved the questions and assurances of his ongoing care for humanity in scripture. "Stuff happens" to us all. But underneath are the everlasting arms. How cool is that! 

Read more:
*Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 NEV

*Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Psalm 86:4-5 NEV

*I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. Psalm 145:1-3 NEV 

*So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:16–17 NLT

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures!

    You would've enjoyed hearing my seven year-old reading the 23rd Psalm for the first time through this week. It was a moment in time