“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” ~ Psalms 34:1-3 (NKJV)
“O Magnify the LORD for He is worthy to be PRAISED.”
If I am completely honest then I must admit that yesterday my heart was not resonating with the first three verses of Psalm 34.
At about 11:00 am I got a phone call from my eldest daughter letting me know the electricity was off and there really seemed no explanation for this outage. I called the electric company reporting the outage and waiting for word on how long before they would restore the much-needed air conditioning and well… The power to the refrigerator and freezer. The recorded message on the other end of the line sounded as melancholy as I felt: “We will do our best to have your electric service restored by July 1st, 11:59 pm. Please plan to be without power until July 1st at 11:59 pm.”
Lately, it seems to me that it has been one thing heaped upon another coming against us. Remarkably, we seem to weather the storms of life with some peace and harmony keeping us steady. Now, to be fair – the enemy only gets his fair share of responsibility because the truth is I can just about screw something up as sure as I am sitting here typing this post. My spirit still finds my soul, flesh, wants to take over more often than I would rather admit. Sometimes, I give in.
Yesterday I felt tired. My body and mind exhausted by an endless day of taking care of details. Scott enjoys vacation time off this week. He has played: out to the golf course twice, the firing range once and on a fishing expedition once. If my man gets one minute of free time his entire being sets off in search of play.
At Steak-N-Shake last night Scott and I awaited the arrival of our burgers when overwhelming thoughts of frustration frantically began to roam around in my head. I felt tears and discouragement wash over me as the warm drops of liquid emotion began to fall from my eyes. I can’t say I was mad. I don’t even think sad is a good word. Frustrated only describes the lead in. I threw myself a good old-fashioned “pity party.”
My critical spirit loomed large as I set out to explain why I found myself crying to the puzzled man sitting across the table from me.
I told him, “I don’t feel safe, covered or protected. I feel like I’m always taking care of everything for everyone and it is just hard for me because I am really, really tired.”
Scott’s eyes danced down as he took a long draw off the red straw plunged deep into a large glass of frosty, chocolate shake.
His inability to respond pressed on me. I didn’t want to lose it. I can, after all, choose not to let this ruin my night. I weighed my words as I said to him, “Today you knew I had something I needed to ask my dad about that was important and you talked to him but didn’t mention it. It’s not a really big deal, but it would be one less thing on my plate to deal with when I get off work. Why don’t you think of things like that?”
He shrugged, “I don’t know.”
I continued. “Scott, when you get time off you focus your time and attention on figuring out how you can PLAY. I mean you play a lot. I don’t ever get to play because I am always taking care of things for you and the girls. I go to work and take care of people’s problems and manage calendars. I don’t mean to complain but I just realize that it is really frustrating that you never think I might want to play.”
I complained. I can admit it: Definitely not blessing the Lord with His praise continually on my lips. I did not extol or exalt the Lord. I elevated myself. (Can you see me cringe?)
GRUMBLING. COMPLAINING. It’s my nature to fix things. In my presbytery one time a presbyter said that I am a “rescuer” but not in a bad way. When I have needs that go unmet my tendency to fall into a critical, complaint-oriented spirit grows exponentially.
There are some key words in this passage of Scripture:
These three words speak volumes to me. I read them just as we were settling in at Scott’s parent’s house last night when I pulled out my Bible and began to chew on Psalm 34: 1-3.
These three verses tell me something very important: True Humility produces a heart that praises and worships God in any and every circumstance. A heart that praises the Lord blesses Him. God magnified – put on bigger than life display when we choose to bless Him with our praise no matter what we are facing in life.
The second things that stood out to me was this phrase from verse 2: “My soul shall make its boast in the Lord.” Did I ever need to remember this truth: Every circumstance in my life will not just be about me?
The mark of humility on believers recognized by the humble-God’s praise on our lips, His boast in our hearts. What is it that allows us to praise God continually, boast in Him and sing His praises even when my particular set of circumstances looks and smells more like a garbage dump than a flower garden?
Keep writing it God. I’m making progress. I feel better.
I’m praising the Lord tonight for restored electricity – it was on when my younger daughter arrived home this morning. I’m praising the Lord tonight for my “play-full” man, and I am blessing His Holy Name because He has rescued me. SO. RESCUED ME.
He is good… Indeed, He is. His mercies are truly new every morning and He is always there waiting for us to turn around and welcome Him into every aspect of this journey.