When I was much, much younger, members of my family often said to me, “Tell us what you really think, Christin!”
They weren’t asking for my opinion – lovingly encouraging me to speak up. They were commenting on the… um… directness or candor with which I had just expressed myself.
I’ve been through many heart-rending, heart-humbling experiences to become the gentle, soft-spoken, diplomatic person a lot of people think I am. The kind of person that I aspire to be.
But I also know that in one sense, I’ll always be a “tell-it-like-it-is” kind of girl, because that’s who God made me.
I’m all about keeping it real – and that’s one of the things I love about the Psalms.
The Psalmist keeps it real, when he pours out his heart to God – his hurts and heartaches. His anger and frustration. His depression and discouragement. His guilt. His pain.
He’s honest about the times he’s failed, but he also wants to be vindicated when he’s been betrayed, lied to or about, falsely accused.
He’s not blind to the injustice or wickedness or evil in this world –and how it seems to triumph sometimes or go unpunished.
He doesn’t plaster a plastic smile on his face all the time or pretend to live in a lofty spiritual plane where nothing disturbs his peace.
He doesn’t always feel God’s presence or comfort or strength or help.
“When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed… but my soul was not comforted.” (Psalm 77:2)
And he’s not afraid to tell God what he really thinks about it.
He keeps it real.
But the Psalmist also keeps it real in ways that I sometimes forget…
He keeps it real about the good stuff, too.
He remembers all the times he HAS felt comforted and strengthened by God’s presence, His love, His salvation.
He remembers all the good things God has done for him and for His people through the centuries… sometimes generally and sometimes very specifically, recalling particular instances and events.
“I will teach you hidden lessons from our past – stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down from us. We will not hide these truths from our children. We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders.” (Psalm 78:2-4)
He celebrates all the victories God gives him. He rejoices in God’s protection and provision — in big ways and small ways.
“He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands…” (Psalm 78:72)
He sees how often God does intervene and does reward the faithful and does vindicate the righteous.
He praises the life-giving wisdom God has provided for us in His Word.
The Psalmist describes all the attributes of God –all the things we know about who He is and what He’s like – what He does. His heart toward us. He names God his Rock, Refuge, Shield, his Strength and his Song, his Good Shepherd.
He recites all the ways God has been there for him in the past and how God has promised to be there for him now and in the future.
He continually tells his heart and soul to be still. Wait patiently. Have hope. Look up. Keep an eternal perspective.
All of this, too, is keeping it real.
Reading the Psalms this summer, I’m reminded I want to do better about keeping it real in EVERY sense, in every way. Especially this one.
Want to join me?
Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Assignment
It’s Week Four in our free online summer Bible study, Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® ~ Summer in the Psalms. If you’re participating, remember these are your instructions for this week…
Choose a reading plan:
2) Surfing through the Psalms ~ Read through the entire book of Psalms during our six-week study. This week, read Psalms 76-100. (which includes the “Soaking” Psalms — see above).
1) Does it come naturally to you to “keep it real” with God and with others — or is it harder for you to be honest about what you think or feel? Whatever your answer, why do you think this is? Is it your personality / temperament? Your upbringing? Past experiences? Messages you’ve received from our (church) culture or society? How do you feel when the Psalmist gets real — or when other people do? Spend some time journaling about this or talking it through in your head or with a friend.
2) Try writing your own Psalm — a psalm of lament or praise and thanksgiving, or a psalm that records your spiritual journey. Originally the psalms were written to be sung — which is why they’re in verse. And in the original language, some of them rhyme, some have repeating refrains, some are actually acrostics (the first line of each verse starts with a different alphabet letter). Use whatever form you like!
If you’re just joining us – You can catch up by reading past posts on our Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Archive page or by hitting the “back” button at the bottom of this post and scrolling through.
SPECIAL VBS GIVEAWAY: If you’re a Virtual VBS Participant and you’ve signed up for our emails, you’ll be getting a message in a couple of hours with instructions on how to enter our extra-special Virtual VBS giveaway.
You could win a Psalms coloring book, a copy of my latest book, What Women Should Know About Letting It Go, this week’s guest poster Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s book Dwelling Places, a Psalms bookmark… all kinds of goodies!