As I read through the book of Psalms, one question screams out to me over and over again: How’s my heart?
David and the other writers of the Psalms are intensely self-aware. In our world, we tend to drown out the sound of our inner self with all the busyness and noise around us, but this is not the case for the Psalmists. Whether it be a dark place of depression such as the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23, a place of anguish and frustration that our deepest self simply will not rejoice in God (Psalm 42), or the overwhelming peace that makes us sleep like babies, knowing that our dad is protecting us (Psalm 4:8), the writers do not put on a show. They are transparent, painfully so at times.
Where, then, does that leave us? I have found some of the greatest freedom I have ever known in the Psalms. They seem so different from what I see in the world around me. There are times that I cannot sleep at night because I can feel the hardness of my own heart, and I despise it. However, more often than not I feel the need to hide these emotions or simply ignore them with the convenience of constant distraction. I don’t think that’s what God intended for us, though. I really believe that one of the reasons God has given us the Psalms is so we will stop being so fake with ourselves, with God, and with others. We have a tendency to grow hard-hearted, and only when we are honest with ourselves can we cry out to the Holy Spirit and reach our hand out for him to pull us up. How else can we ever utter words such as these?:
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13:1-2)
Stop faking. Stop acting. Be real. God will meet you there.