And no, they are not connected at all! But they have both been swirling in my mind for a day or so, waiting for me to get the time to blog. And maybe by the time I get to the end of this post, I will have an ingenious way to fit them together!!
First, parts of Psalm 31 have become my verses for these current days of contemplation and planning for the new year.
Psalm 31: 7-10, 15a, 16-17a
I will rejoice and be glad in Your faithful love because You have seen my affliction. You know the troubles of my soul and have not handed me over to the enemy. You have set my feet in a spacious place. Be gracious to me, Lord, because I am in distress; my eyes are worn out from frustration – my whole being as well. Indeed, my life is consumed with grief and my years with groaning; my strength has failed because of my iniquity and my bones waste away. The course of my life is in Your power…Make your face shine on Your servant; save me by Your faithful love. Lord, DO NOT LET ME BE DISGRACED WHEN I CALL ON YOU.
I read this, and even in the initial read-through, certain words and images just filled themselves in.
The Lord is so well aware of all the trouble of my soul. And He refuses to hand me over to the enemy. THE enemy. I want to allow the fact that the Lord is aware of my troubled soul to wash over me like a balm. I need someone to oversee my soul because I am truly not very good at it.
But this spacious place He sets my feet on? The Message translates it as, ” He gave me room to breathe.” My mind can picture that spacious place that the Lord puts me down in, this place that gives me room to breathe. The Lord, because He keeps me from the enemy and desires that I have a trouble-free soul, delights to give me a place to catch my breath in this battle we call life.
His grace abounds when I am feeling distressed (great pain, anxiety or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble). How do my eyes wear out from frustration? As I read this verse with the mind of a compulsive eater, it was so clear that my eyes are worn out from all the food images that bombard me in my day. Most minds are so desensitized. In times past, food was not the focus of life. I feel like today it is. People eat all day long, and then talk about food and eating in the brief moments when they aren’t actually eating?
Or at least that is how it seems to a compulsive over eater.
But the psalmist goes on to say that it is not just affecting his eyes, but his whole being. David is speaking my language and knows me well. Grief, groaning, failed strength and wasting bones. Check, check, check and check.
But here’s the BIG thing: it is all caused by his own iniquity. It is self-inflicted. And check again. All my issues flow from self-abuse; flow from an addiction – disordered eating.
But the assurance follows. The Lord has the course of my life in His powerful hands. And David’s final plea is my plea: DO NOT LET ME BE DISGRACED WHEN I CALL ON YOU. To me, David is asking God to intercede in him to direct his actions away from the iniquity he is flooded by. I cannot even imagine being disgraced in some way because of the lifestyle I live and having that reflect back toward God. How easy I think it would be to embarrass God with my eating habits. And my logic mind knows how unreasonable that is, but still I think the thoughts.
So often, life has to include things that we never are able to conclude end results from. We can imagine that the flat tire that made us late also prevented us from an accident that we were not present for due to the flat tire. Waiting in line at the store for longer than reasonable might be used by God to put us in the right place later to encounter someone who needs a conversation or smile from one of His people. But only God can really see and understand all the moves needing made in a chess-like game that we live here on this earth. But, because God is good all the time, and because everything that happens is for His glory and our good, we can trust.
Weird conversation with self: God knew when I was born that when I was 59 I would be at what felt like the “end of my rope” in regard to so many areas of my life. He got me to THIS SPOT with ever increasing information, all required to enable me to have success in this thing called self-control over addictions and weight loss. I pray daily – many times a day of late – that the time when all that comes together to orchestrate success in NOW. Because He also knows exactly how sad and miserable I am getting.
When Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem after living in a foreign land for what seemed like forever, he had no idea that his diligence in rebuilding the wall around the city would mean he would rebuild the city entrance that Jesus would ride through on a donkey as the crowds shouted Hosanna some hundreds of years later. To me, this is legacy material. Things we leave in place that others will look back on with wonder at God’s power working through us.
And I am personally awed at how God worked Nehemiah into the Psalm 31 musings. Maybe a bit awkward, but there none-the-less.
God has the story written and every single person, every single thing, will perform the parts in the story that he wrote, at exactly the time He ordained them to be performed. It is all so mind blowing to me. And something I cannot dwell on without experiencing mind-exhaustion. It is easier to just let go of what we see as control and just allow God to lead and guide.
Easier said than done, tho, right?