A Song for Worriers

Psalm 131

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

Lord, my heart is not proud;
    my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
    or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
    like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
    Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    now and always.

I imagine the Jerusalem-bound pilgrims singing this song as they journeyed to worship the Lord and make sacrifices to him, to celebrate his goodness and provision, to connect with him and find peace in his presence. As they drew closer to the temple, these pilgrims would shed their worries like an old skin, as anxiety has no place in the Lord’s presence. Their song keeps focuses on the one thing they need most with an adamant refusal to get sucked into worrying about things they can’t comprehend, let alone control. It prepares them to meet with the Lord.

Is it really so simple?

As a constant worrier, I was refreshed by this psalm’s simplicity. 1) Refuse to worry. 2) Calm yourself in the Lord’s presence. Many of my worries are rooted in dwelling on my fears ad nauseam. As I approach the Lord, I often forget to take off those nagging doubts and worries, so I don’t experience the peace of his presence. Sure, I need to be real in my fears with God, but dragging my anxious thoughts into his presence can distract me from what I need most.

This song encourages me to not only have times where I pour out my heart to God in prayer over the things that worry me, but also to remember to carve out times where I’ll focus on him alone. I can check my worries at the door in order to allow me to see and experience that the Lord is truly my refuge.

How? I can simply tell my fears to wait when they bubble up in my time with Jesus. It seems so simple, but it’s no different than ignoring a call when you’re having a more important conversation. Some moments are too sacred for such distractions. As I discipline myself to have a sacred space in the Lord’s presence, I find the peace the pilgrims sought as they journeyed to the temple, the peace of a child in its mother’s arms.

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