Editor’s Note: I wrote this about 4 years ago when I was a member of another church. Our pastor that week asked that I write this and present it at church. I ran across it again while spring cleaning at my house. I thought it was appropriate for a Sunday post. Here’s what I wrote and presented at church:
I wrote this psalm a couple of weeks ago. We were on our mini-church retreat, enjoying a time of fellowship and getting to know the members of our small group better, since my husband and I were the newest couple in the group. During this time, my husband shared an event that I was a little uncomfortable with him sharing to the group. It really was okay, but I tend to be a private person, so sometimes it’s hard for me to share the way he does. I really envy his openness and trust.
After this time of sharing, there was a group activity. I chose not to participate. I was still trying to collect my thoughts from the sharing time we just finished. I ended up being the only one not to participate, and I really felt silly about not joining in. But, it was during this quiet time alone that I wrote the words to this modern day Psalm.
Why do I hide myself away? Why don’t I trust and open my heart and let people in? Why do I only present one side of myself and not go deeper. When I’m angry or in pain, I shut down, hide away… not wanting to say or do anything wrong or anything to escalate the situation, or bring tears too close to the surface — tears that won’t stop. So, I think no one will know how I feel if I’m silent.
I’m not sure I can even pour my heart out to you, God. Even though you know what’s there, why can’t I let it out, exclaim to you my fears, share my joys, or just go to you in silent prayer?
But I can’t hide from our Savior. He knows my every thought, the depths of my heart, and every tear I have, whether shed or brimming just below the surface.
I may not pray well. I’m not a prayer warrior. I wouldn’t be good on a prayer chain. Does it mean I’ve done something wrong? I pray in my own way — but again, it is silent, and very informal — yet is it worth any less in its value? Are writing these words down, and not speaking aloud, any less of a prayer?
I sit here alone as I write this — not joining in the group activity — separating myself once again. Oh, how foolish I feel. I’m not upset at anyone else. They didn’t tell me not to come. I told myself to stay behind — and I isolated myself from the group, and from my husband.
I wonder if this is how we isolate ourselves from you, O Lord?
You love us completely, you want to draw us in, you want us to be closer to you, yet we still shy away. We still find a way to isolate ourselves, and say “not now — maybe later.”
I often think of how it is to be a parent. My father once said that being a parent was his greatest joy and his greatest hardship. I never understood that until I became a parent myself. I love my children more than I thought possible. Yet when they flounder or when they’re rebellious, or when they’re just being kids, it hurts so deep inside. It hurts when they disobey and don’t understand that what we do for them, we do out of love. Is this how you feel, God? It hurts you when we fall away, when we disobey — when everything you do for us, you do out of love. You sent your only son to die for us! We are so undeserving. Could I sacrifice my child that way?
So, I sit here today and worry about not praying well or praying enough, scared to be involved in ways I’m not comfortable with, feeling foolish from being left behind from the group, trying to convince myself that it really is okay that they know of a dark, difficult time in my life… and wondering how many other ways I’ve disappointed someone I love — how many times I’ve disappointed you, O Lord.
I have to turn to you today, Lord, to bring peace to my troubled heart. To know that it’s okay if we all don’t pray that same way. It’s okay to open my heart to the people you put in my life. That even if I disappoint you with my isolation, with my selfishness, you will forgive me, and still love me — in spite of me.
Give me that peace today, O Lord. Help me turn to you not only in bad times but also when things are good, when you are blessing us abundantly. I know you are sovereign and I know I won’t have to be fearful. For you alone are God — You are my Savior, You are the Lord of Lords, most high.
What else do I need to know? Let me rest in that knowledge and in your peace today, O Lord. Let me be mindful of you. Let me say “thank you” today.
Thank you despite my doubts and fears. Thank you God for cradling me in the palm of your hand.