Psalms have been my place of refuge this summer. yHere's something I learned the other day which has been helpful since.
We are generally in one of three spaces. 1. Oriented. 2. Disoriented. 3. Reoriented.
When we are oriented things are stable. This is actually more of a rarity. We are often able to cover up the storms and high;s within to make it look like this is our reality but the truth is very few of us spend much time here. We often assume everyone else dwells here most of the time, but they don't. When we are not here, our natural inclination is to try to get back here. If the boat is rocking, we are trying to get it stabilized again. But strangely, we don't really like staying here very long. It's boring. Sometimes in this state we try to rock the boat on purpose. Just to get a little action going in our lives. We might not do this consciously but we can even sabotage ourselves just because we are bored. Maybe the best thing to do in this place in our lives is to use it to train, learn, grow and to develop a deeper sense of purpose, mission and destiny. Eventually that sense of purpose will press us forward and get the boat rocking again for the right reasons. If we don't have any purpose that is redeeming, we will be tempted to find purposes that are damaging.
When we are disoriented something or someone has upset the stability in our lives. Circumstances in our families, finances, health, work, relationships etc. are not the way we would like them and we feel discombobulated. Often our sense of being disoriented is not only from our circumstances though, many times it is within: a lack of peace, joy, or fulfillment; a sense of anxiety, stress, or worry. When we are disoriented we want to fix things. There are a number of possible responses to being disoriented. We may just push it all under and pretend everything is okay. We may medicate/intoxicate ourselves with other things so that we don't have to face our sense of disorientation. We may go on a self-management spree and try to fix things on our own. But the Psalms invite us to take our disorientation to God. To face it in His presence and wrestle with it in prayer. They invite us to use our disorientation to push us towards God to find help, comfort, strength, solutions, wisdom, miracles, freedom, etc.. How we respond to the disoriented times in our lives effect the outcome far more than the circumstances themselves.
When we are reoriented there is a great sense of joy, life and fresh revelation. We see things and know things in a new way that makes us feel alive and joyful again. What once felt like a foggy miserable day has now changed and the sun is shining again. In these times the Psalms invite us to rejoice in God. Maybe the most descriptive word for reorientation is "hope". The Psalms teach us to move through our disorientation with God and allow Him to reorient us. They teach us to move through despair to hope.
"Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!"