Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Psalm 119

I've been reading my way through the Psalms in my old testament time. Since reading this book last summer, I've been able to read the psalms with a new perspective - as prayers. That perspective may have seemed obvious to many, many people, but it wasn't to me. I've always had a difficult time reading psalms... some of them have such a cadence in my head from memorizing them multiple times as a kid (Psalm 1, 8, 23) that I can't get past that sing-songy voice in my head while I read them; the fact that they are written to look like a poem also contributes to a sing-songy voice as I read them - I'm not so good with poetry, either; and the language just has never spoken to me.

Reading the Psalms out of the Message translation certainly has helped - along with my newfound psalms-are-actually-prayers perspective. I am grateful, because there is so much good stuff in there!

As a kid in christian school, it was well-known that Psalm 119 was the looooooongest psalm in the Bible. And reading it was rarely attempted, if ever. Perhaps if a sermon was particularly boring I may have cracked open Psalm 119 to pass the time while the preacher droned on. And I would do so only after I had counted ceiling tiles, watched the fan go around dozens of times, figured out how old I would be in the year 2000 (24!!!!) and any other kid in big church activity.

Wow - I have been missing out. I've been reading through Psalm 119 for probably 2 weeks and I can't get more than a few verses read at a time. There is so much to learn and meditate on in this psalm. It is quickly becoming my favorite. So I may do a few thoughts here about verses in Psalm 119 that I want to especially meditate on - I don't retain much unless I write about it:)

Psalm 119: 80 - Let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.

So what? So what for me?
* it is important to be whole - soul and body. This means, for me, that it is vital for me to care for myself in all ways - physically through exercise and nutrition; mentally through reading, thinking, discussing, conversing; psychologically through down time, an unhurried life, and personal interests/projects. It is important for me to not lose my Jana-ness in the midst of life as a mom and wife - my identity does not fully exist in being Nora, Ryann and Georgia's mom or Dave's wife. It doesn't. I'm more than those things. I enjoy being mom and wife, but I'm also Jana. And I'm continually learning that taking care of me is as important as taking care of them.

* it is important to be holy. I feel comfortable with figuring out how to go about being whole, but being holy? How do I be holy? How do I become holy? I have few ideas here... I think that by reading and meditating on God's word I will get closer and closer, but I'm not sure I will ever fully achieve holiness - is it possible? Verse 9 says, How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. So I am continually working on this.

* I can walk with my head held high. I'm learning this more and more, too. I'm reluctant to blog about my actual feelings sometimes because I'm not sure what others are going to think of me. I'm learning that I don't care. I am who I am (and I am not God) and I can hold my head up high. I've done a great amount of walking with my head lowered and its horrible. Some days - like yesterday when my face totally broke out for no apparent reason - it is hard to walk with my head held high, but I need to and I can.

Back to that verse from Matthew that I quoted last week - with less of me there is more of God. I can love more completely when I am whole - soul and body - because I'm not distracted with the things that are making me feel icky. I can love more completely when I am holy - verse 41: Let your love, God, shape my life - learning more about God brings me closer to him and his love. I can love more completely when I am walking with my head held high - because I'm not as self-absorbed with how uncomfortable I am or how I don't measure up... with less of me there is more of God.


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