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Psalm 119- don’t go it alone

“That’s right don’t go off on your own; you walk straight on the path He set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live. Now you expect us to live it.”

Psalm 119: 3-4

Life right now is angry. Everywhere we turn there is an opinion that challenges us for an answer. Community is scattered, people are unsure and the world is full of fire.

Then enters our work life. We need to collaborate on a daily basis, with work colleagues, family members and friends to be able to move forward in this season of complexity. There are days that I struggle with collaboration so much. If only everyone did everything my way then the world would be so much simpler (SMILE!)

This rabbit hole theology is when I find myself buried amid of rabbit warren of regret, trying to do the right thing. Trying to have the right answers, trying to be helpful, trying to keep all the plates spinning.

The aftermath of projects gone awry, people’s intentions misunderstood and the understanding of one another’s perspectives.

Like our terrible attempt at homeschooling. My husband and I had very different applications of the assignments that sat before us, for our five-year-old. I thought I was great at collaboration until I had to try and decipher the school’s expectation of English comprehension and what my eight-year-old was supposed to be doing instead of playing Minecraft.

I wrote this in my journal mid-sentence of the homeschooling debacle of 2020;

“I thought I was good at collaboration until recently. I feel tired, I feel let down and I feel disrespected. God help me to find my way through this. To find your way with ease.”

This is the power of common-unity. These spaces where ease allows us to not always be the responsible one and to just let things slide, choosing my battles on what is really important and what is just noise.

Then enters Psalm 119;

“Don’t go off on your own.”

Psalm 119: 3

Life on your own little island, with no one messing with your heart and possessions, might seem like a great idea in this very moment, but the beauty of our relationships is the power of connection and empathy. As we sit and listen to the stories of one another, we find the perspective we have been looking for, amid the rubble.

Relationships are not easy.

Your community can not be found in a quick consumable flat pack.

It takes time, it takes generosity and it takes the humility to allow someone to have a different perspective to you. The greatest relationships that I have observed are the ones who live with abundance and walk with generosity.

Discovering the power of common-unity means that you will not always be in the right, means that you will need to try again, it means that you will need to call, connect and follow through with your commitments.

Belonging is not found in the moments of sameness, it is found in the acceptance of our differences and loving one another fiercely anyway. If we need to change to fit into a group, then it’s probably not the right group for you anyway.

I know at the moment large groups of people seems scary and tense. We were however designed for relationship. You were designed to thrive amid difference, complexity and freedom. We were prescribed to live in a community. Reach out, make a phone call and listen to someone who has a different opinion to yours.

This is a place of growth.

This is the beginning of diversity.

This is our proving ground of trust.

Discussion question for comments section:

Where are you trying to go it alone?

“That’s right, don’t go off on your own; you walk straight on the road he set.”

Psalm 119: 3

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stay the course

Stay The Course

Psalm 119: 1

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily in the direction and road revealed by God.”

Lately, I have wanted to shut everything down. It’s a regular occurrence don’t be alarmed. I overthink it all. My life, my writing and the paths I have chosen to walk. I wonder how much I have been doing to try and gain my own sense of self. This is a weird mix of living authentically but at the same time just wanting privacy and a lot less noise. And there is so much shame being perpetuated across the media waves lately. So many shoulds. So much anger. Most of it righteous, but the projection has been shutting people down rather than opening up the discussions that are so badly needed.

I have chosen this pathway but if I was really honest, it’s a sparse, rabbit trail of crumbs that asks me to carry on. Every time I decide to give up, an email lands in my inbox, with encouragement about my writing or I meet someone for the first time that has been impacted by the stories I have told.

This season in the world has really rocked me. With six months of my calendar wiped in one day and a new book release that has fallen flat into this bizarre time in the world, honestly, it all looks a little shallow on this side of a worldwide pandemic and racial inequity. Then I come across Psalm 119, it was written hundreds of years ago. It is an acrostic poem that explores the beauty of scripture and the rhythm of daily devotion. The first verse reminded me to go back to the beginning of this year and remember what I had promised myself.

Stay the course.

What does it mean for you to stay the course that God set for your year?

Verse two goes on to say “You’re blessed when you follow His direction.”

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when you have a job.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when your book sales explode.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when your house is perfect.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when you have all the answers.

It says you’re blessed when you follow his ways.

The penultimate question is…

“What is the course that was set before me, that I am to walk towards?”

“How would he respond in the current climate?”

Across the next few months, each Monday I am going to write from a different verse from this long, enduring Psalm and walk on a pilgrimage of rhythm in reading the word of God as a form of meditation.

In the comments below tell me what course or decision you had made at the beginning of 2020 and needed to be reminded of?

The decision I made at the beginning of this year was to walk in abundance. To believe the very best in those closest to me, to look for abundance in my thought processes and collaboration. To have fun with my children rather than being so serious all the time. To look for God’s provision rather than the worlds. None of this has changed. However, every sentence above has been challenged.

No one knew what this year would end up looking like this. No one could have predicted what was to happen. However, God saw it and called us to walk steadfastly remembering the simple things that draw us once again back to the promises that He has already enacted in our lives.

My meditation this week is to steadily walk again in the course that was already set. No need to recreate everything. Just come back to the very simple things that draw me towards God once again. Reading, writing, slowing down, singing, laughing and remembering that amid it all, He ultimately is in control.

Psalm 119: 1

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily in the direction and road revealed by God.”

Tell me your thoughts below.

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The Daily Examen

The Examen is a method of reviewing our day in the presence of God. It’s practice more than a method, breathing in for thankful reflection for God in the simple things. It has five steps, which is an opportunity for a quick quarter-hour daily examen through writing or meditation.

This method is from the work of Ignatius of Loyola.

Ask God for insight: Let’s look at our day with God’s eyes, not merely our own.

Give thanks: What are we grateful for? The day we have just lived is a gift from God.

Review the day: Rewind your thoughts through the day and be aware of how each section makes you feel.

Face your shortcomings: This is an opportunity to sit with the moments where we have caused harm. A moment of confession.

Look toward the day to come: I ask where I need God in the day to come.

To download your own copy of this process click here to print for yourself: PDF VERSION