This is a little something different. As I was reading and meditating on this passage, I found I had things to say about it. So here’s a devotional, as it were. (If you’re interested in more posts of this type in addition to the regular programming, let me know. )
“I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.” Psalm 4:8
Scripture: Psalm 5-6
Life is full of challenges. I don’t know about you, but when faced with challenges, I try harder, usually. This can be good and bad. I’ve been able to accomplish some hard things for myself, not without tears or yelling, because I also get frustrated too. But, that need to figure out what is going wrong and fix it sometimes is good.
However, it doesn’t work well in some situations. When anxiety tries to overtake me because I am overwhelmed, trying harder only activates anxiety more. The more I strive, the more I fail, the more I am anxious and the more I try to fix it on my own. It’s a circular pattern. Sometimes it ends with my perceived failure (which PS I don’t handle well). Then I beat myself up for not being able to live up to the unrealistic expectations of perfection that I have for myself. Sound familiar?
In these two Psalms, David is up against some hefty adversaries. We know that sometimes David walked freely with God and sometimes David struggled. He cries to the Lord in these verses, begging him to act on David’s behalf against his adversaries. He calls on the “hesed” (or loyal affection) God has for him and the covenant relationship bought with the blood of Jesus.
David knows that in himself he is nothing. He knows that sometimes he fails. He admits in Psalm 6 that he deserves rebuke. Even here he knows his only help is found in God and he cries out to Him.
I feel a lot like David sometimes. I’m so tired of being upset and frustrated by my situation, by my own failures, by the things I can’t fix myself. I need the deliverance that only comes from God to help me lie down in peace and quit the striving that only serves to frustrate me and make my situation worse.
Holy God — I have failed many times, not by evil but by relying on my own strength and being disappointed in myself when my strength fails. Remind me that I can do nothing on my own and it is your power in me that is the hope of righteousness. Deliver me from unrealistic, lofty expectations that I set for myself. Deliver me from striving.
Teach me the unforced rhythms of grace.