Sunday, August 05, 2007

But I Have Calmed Myself...

Psalm 131

I've read through the Bible before, and I've read through the Book of Psalms before, but this morning's reading struck me as new, as if I'd never seen it before. It's a brief hymn, though potent:

My heart is not proud, LORD;
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed myself
and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

Not only does it seem as if I've never read this poem before, it is one that strikes me between the eyes...I need the truth of this song in my life both now and forevermore. The other day I was reflecting on my pridefulness, how it was darkening my soul. This was coupled with a deep level anxiety that continues to push itself into the forefront of my life...which has sparked numerous comments to others that I need to calm down.

I am so worked up over being a good pastor, of teaching and leading a church towards grace and peace; over becoming more holy and making a great big difference in this brief and turbulent world. I worry, I fret, I obssess, I ponder, I fear...and on it goes with my life. I used to think that I was a calm person, unrattled, cool and collected; I may be on the outside, but on the inside...well I've not yet learned to quiet my ambitions.

My counselor friend Dan Boen once asked me why I wanted to make a difference in the world. At the time of the question, I thought it was connected to the death of my brothers Matt and Ben. They lived brief lives, and I may have a brief life; so in the time I have left (however short it may be) I want to make a difference in this world. But when will it be enough? And what kind of difference can I make motivated by fear?

One of my immediate tasks, if I am to make a difference in the world, is to not despair of God (which has been a struggle...), and to trust his desires for my life, however brief it may be. I must trust him today, now, in the moment; I tend to always focus on the future, and I end up missing the joy of today. So here and now, I calm myself...put to rest my ambitions for now...and trust God with all my life for this morning.

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