Every morning, as I eat my oatmeal, I read three psalms. Some are longer, some are shorter, but they all satisfy and speak to some part of my day. I make a point of not reading the news till later. Just a glance at the headlines at most. It can wait. Start off with the good news.
1) Take delight in the Lord, and he shall give you your heart’s desire. (Psalm 37:4)
Still think of God as that gloomy bearded figure in the sky? Think again. As this psalm reminds me, we are to “take delight” in the Lord. Like savoring the blueberries in my oatmeal. They’re good for the heart. As is our delight in God.
2) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:11)
Some days I feel weary and down. Filled up with worries for the future. A verse like this reminds me of where to put my hope and trust. How to renew my spirit.
3) For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly, my hope is in him. (Psalm 62:6)
As anyone who has read me knows, I believe in the power of silence. Before I even pray the psalms I sit on our lumpy sofa, close my eyes and get silent. As the title of my book Even Silence Is Praise rightly puts it, waiting in silence is a way to praise. Paying attention to the noisy mind is to be able to let go of the noisy mind and put hope in the right place.
4) Remember, Lord, how short life is, how frail you have made all flesh. (Psalm 89:47)
I don’t think of myself as all that old, and yet, heck, I’m old enough for Medicare and Social Security—God bless them—which means I’m heading towards the last decades of life. This Psalm reminds me not to ignore the internal or external aches that can come with age. Knowing how short life is reminds us to honor the preciousness of each day.
5) For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his faithfulness endures from age to age. (Psalm 100:4)
This psalm I remember memorizing back in third grade Sunday school. Mercy. What a great word. How rare it appears in our everyday life. And faithfulness. Those virtues of God are the long-lasting ones. The things to hold onto in the busyness of our days.
6) I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord… (Psalm 12:1-2)
Look up. Look to nature. Look to the view outside your window. Go for a walk. See the glorious sky, the clouds coming and going. Observe the power of a tree rising up, reaching for the heavens. I can look out my window and see the Hudson River and the cliffs of New Jersey. Like lifting my eyes to the hills. We each have these views we can see. Take them and use them as opportunities to praise the Lord.