A Psalm of Perspective

An Open Letter to
the Posers, the Pretenders, and the Petulant Prodigals
(Or, a note to self)

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Even before the sun stretches over the horizon

the lies pace like a pack of hungry jackals, preying

to devour your joy,  your hope, your peace. Your prayer

their prey. They attack from every angle. There

is no escape; their ranks closing, closing, until

light and air fade. Every effort, every movement

exhausting as every lie becomes truth, every

good thing, dust. Like ash, faith flakes, erodes,

dissolves through fingers clenched, hands balled

into fists, ready to fight the poser you see staring

at you from the bathroom mirror. But still,

you pray. Be still. Be still, you pray, wanting God

to still and stave off the jackals. Be still

and pray.

Selah.

“You’re not good enough,” a familiar voice whispers

within. “You can’t do this. You can’t do

anything.” You glance around, surreptitiously, hoping

nobody sees or hears these words that seep like truth

into your heart, your thoughts, your being. You doubt

your worth as much as your gifts. Who else knows,

you wonder. Who else knows you wonder what to do

or whether what you do matters. Do they,

like you, see you as a phony, pretending to be, pretending

what you do matters even a little to anyone. Even so, you know

one thing; you can do one thing without posturing, without

posing, without wondering. Because you know;

even now you know. Even stuttering, even stammering,

even incoherent words, raised up, whispered, wanting,

desperate, you know He hears you still. Be still

and pray.

Selah

Even before the sun stretches over the horizon

you itch, you need to run, to outrun the lies

as much as the truth of your lies, what you’ve done.

You left, you ran, you threw all caution, threw

brooding tantrums and demands, seeking what

you did not earn or deserve; you reaped it all

and now, with weeping, you know you have lost

your way as much as your worth. Everything

gone except one; except One, One who stands,

who waits, who seeks you with everything He

has starting with His love. You are lost

not to Him or His truth of You. But to find

what was lost, you must no longer hide, but seek

stillness and pray.

Selah

You, O Lord, provide the One

true reflection of me by Your truth;

yet in my being, I am loathe to succumb

to Your Word; even so

I long for Your provision, Your power,

and Your portion. When You my priority I make,

even halting words raise up my eyes

to You. I see clearly what darkness

seeks to hide. I see You

in me because I bear Your image

and I am no longer me alone. Not mine

alone. My words do not reveal

anything You did not whisper first

to me: masterpiece, delight, created

to know You when I come and sit

in stillness, pouring out the pain

and pretense in words or tears or groans;

You pouring out my next breath, and

one breath more, to fullness, abundance

simply by Your presence.

The Best He Can Do

deightThis verse has always resonated deeply with me. It still does, but in a different way.

For years I read this verse as God giving me the desires of my heart: what I desired, or, in other words, what I wanted. Selfish or at least self-centered or self-serving desires more often than not.

At times that included an easier way through struggles or a yearning for the wrong person or myriad requests too often centered on me and what I thought I needed. It’s not that they were bad; it’s that they were only good enough. In other words, they didn’t involve God or His best for me.

These days, I read the words of this psalm differently. I recognize the nuance of them and read them with the understanding that the desires of my heart are a gift from the One who loves me and who wants more for me than I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He wants to give me His best as I take delight in Him and in His Word.

Take delight in God, get to know Him intimately, and make Him the focus of my heart and mind and He will give me His best. He will hold out to me the desires He has for my heart so that my desires are really His desires. His desire and design for me to be the woman He created me to be when He knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). His desire for me to do the good works He created for me to complete on this world (Ephesians 2:10).

And, so, today I find myself meditating on these words and seeking to take hold of God’s desires, God’s best, for my life.

Partly I am realizing that delighting in the Lord is an active process; one that involves complete surrender of my agenda as well as praying without ceasing. Delighting in the Lord is about obedience to the life He offers, the abundant life to which He calls me and that too often I forego.

How often to I mistake living for what is in reality merely surviving?

How often do I justify my choices, my sins, my mistakes and settle for so much less than God’s best?

How often does God pour out His grace and remind me that His mercies are new every morning.

And so I stand in the middle of my life and give thanks for the beauty as well as the brokenness and I choose to delight in the One who delights in me.

Overwhelmed by Christmas

ChristmasChristmas.

It is whispering to my heart with a deep sense of urgency. But it is not the urgency of doing: of decorating and cleaning and buying and wrapping.

It is an urgent pleading to stop. To breathe. To seek and to listen.

And my heart responds with relief.

My mind responds by turning to Bethlehem and wondering. Wondering about that first Christmas and the King of creation becoming a newborn babe wrapped in His mother’s arms and her love.

At the invitation of my Creator I step into those days and join Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem.

At the whisper of God, I sit as if on a hill in Bethlehem and anticipate a miracle. And I remind myself that it is not only a miracle for which I yearn, but a miracle I receive daily.

On this hill in Bethlehem I await the chorus of angels and the Star and the shepherds. I anticipate the young couple whose lives are about to change.

And I eagerly anticipate the arrival of a baby who will bring hope and light into the darkness.

In many ways, Christmas can become a burden, something that overwhelms us as we attempt to create moments and memories and make it something special.

Of course, it already is something special and it doesn’t need us to do anything more to make it so. Christmas doesn’t require anything more of us than to stop, to seek, to listen. To bask in its glow.

This year, I pray that we can let Christmas overwhelm us in a whole new way: wrapped in the awe of the miracle and steeped in the wonder and anticipation of Jesus.

Do you hear the whisper of Christmas today inviting you to come and rest and wonder?