This Week's Focus

Investigate my life, O God
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Psalm 139:23-24

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 21, cont'd: tuning in

When my daughter is in her horseback riding lesson indoors during rain, there is chaos. A bunch of kids on horses going different directions and doing different things in the arena, rain hitting the metal roof, multiple instructors barking out orders. I watched tonight and struggled to keep my eye on my daughter and my ear tuned to her trainer's voice. And it struck me how amazing it is that each child knows it's instructor's voice and follows the guidance.

My sheep recognize my voice... I know them, and they follow me.

I've read this psalm so many times now I feel an intimate familiarity with the words. They have a certain feel, a particular voice, a consistent message. They offer comfort and soothe the soul. They point a specific direction. Their celebration is certain. Predictable. Knowable.

This intimacy has shed light on another voice. It has made distinguishable to me another message that contradicts the consistency of the psalm. It tries to convince me that I am not valuable. It whispers doubt. It leads me to darkness.

Several friends have stopped me in the past couple of weeks when I have spoken the words of this "voice." The lies that don't get caught in the filter and seep into my being and out my mouth.

My pastor reminded me recently of the movie, A Beautiful Mind, about a Nobel Laureate in economics who had schizophrenia and heard voices. At the end of the movie, and in his real life, he said that the voices never went away, he just learned to distinguish the real ones and ignore the imaginary ones.

By reading this psalm over and over again, and drinking it's meaning and message into my being, I have learned more distinctly my Shepherd's voice. I am growing in my ability to recognize a fake. Because of what God is doing in this journey with Psalm 139, I can now better tune in to His voice and tune out the false ones.

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