Now, normally, if I’m yelling “break it down!” the beat is probably just about to drop (either for real or in some song in my head) and it’s time to dance! But God recently reminded me of another, rather different way of breaking it down.
As a freshman, I had a really hard time. I’ve learned so much since then and sometimes forget how little me struggled so with God’s will being so different from what she intended, with finding her classes on what is admittedly a rather large (but wonderful!) campus, and with being simply exhausted at the end of the day, physically and emotionally.
At the end of one particularly trying week, I collapsed onto my bed, opened my Bible, and randomly found Psalm 25. I hadn’t been looking for it, but God had been looking out for me, and it was just the cry of my heart at the moment. But I did something unusual for me then that I would like to do more of now- I didn’t just read it. I wrote it down and intermingled my prayer with it. I broke it down, sometimes phrase by phrase, or verse by verse, and used it to help me pour my heart out to God. I added my little comments in parentheses amidst the chapter and they ranged from simply reiterating the bit of Scripture just before, singing a little part of a hymn, to praying to my Savior. I’ve put my “Psalm 25 Breakdown” below with a few edits.
“To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul (It’s in a lot of pain, God. I’m just tired.); in You I trust, O my God (it was You that sent me here, wasn’t it? I still can’t really see why, God. But I’ll have to trust You.) Do not let me be put to shame (as I wander helplessly about campus) nor let my enemies (those creepy attackers and taker-advantage-of’ers I’m so cautious of) triumph over me. No one whose hope (my life is in You Lord, my strength is in You, Lord, my hope is in You Lord, in You, it’s in You) is in You will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. (All day, Lord. In the morning where I wake up sticky, sweaty, and panicked [I had been waking up every morning panicked that I had missed all of my alarms and slept too late in my unconditioned dorm room]; during the day when my legs ache; at night, like now- when I’m hurting.) Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in His ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them the way (I’m pretty much a mess right now, God. Please show me the way. Keep me open to Your will.). All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful (hallelujah) for those who keep the demands of His covenant. For the sake of Your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great (I mess up a lot). Who, then is the man that fears the Lord. He will instruct him in the way chosen for him (You chose this route, God. Help me to stay on it and follow Your instructions). He will spend his days in prosperity and his descendants will inherit the land. The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord (He stays consistent and is always there for me and will always know what’s ahead), for only He will release my feet from the snare (amen). Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted (wow, that sounds familiar). The troubles of my heart have multiplied (hence the sadness); free me from my anguish (please!). Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins (it’s not just the world that’s messing me up- my own disorganization and forgetfulness are dragging me down, too). See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You. Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!”
What a blessing it is that we have God’s Word, and that He knows exactly when we need exactly which parts of it to touch and motivate our hearts. I’m so glad that I wrote this all down. Looking back at it now, I can see that God has answered so many of those prayers and it’s encouraging to see how He’s taken me through that difficult time, among others in my life, and how faithful He has been. I am confident that He continues to be good.
Is there a passage that you want or need to break down to help build you up? (Sorry to be a bit cliche there!) This is something that I might challenge myself to do again, even when it’s not driven by frustration and emotion. It’s so incredible to be able to read God’s words to us and to express our hearts right back to Him. Hosanna! Praise the Lord!