When feeling bad about oneself: Psalm 139

So what do you do on the mornings when you don’t feel great? When nothing you do feels like it’s enough? When you look in the mirror and only see what you think are imperfections? When everyone’s mad at you? Personally, I RUN as fast as I can TO Psalm 139 and pray it back to God. Soak in it. So here it is — Psalm 139, along with some commentary prayer from yours truly, as this is the way I often read this beloved chapter.

Some mornings I wake up feeling like crap — like I don’t like myself very much that day. Other mornings I wake up feeling great — comfortable in my own life, thankful.

Waking up with those different mornings is part of being human. I was going to say it’s part of being a woman, but the men in my life experience this as well.

As the years go on, there are fewer mornings when I feel like crap, and more mornings when I feel thankful. But each set of mornings still exists.

So what do you do on the mornings when you don’t feel great?

  • When nothing you do feels like it’s enough?
  • When you look in the mirror and only see what you think are imperfections?
  • When everyone’s mad at you?

Personally, I RUN as fast as I can TO Psalm 139:

  • I pray it back to God.
  • Soak in it.
  • Let it’s healing truth wash over me.
  • Let the delight of God in Psalm 139 replace the disgust in myself.

So here it is — Psalm 139, along with some commentary prayer from yours truly, as this is the way I often read this beloved chapter.

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“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.”

Lord, you know everything about me. You’re an intimate Creator. You’re not far off; you’re here with me. You see everything about me. When I feel unknown, unseen, and invisible, YOU SEE ME. And not just see me from afar, but you’re FAMILIAR with my ways. You know them well. You know me well. Every habit, every thought, every beautiful quirk. You delight in me. Search me, Lord, and know me! Be close to me, and let my heart know your closeness. But even when I can’t feel you, you are here with me, because you never leave or forsake me.

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

You hem me in. You’re all around me. Oh, how I love this, Lord! You go before me and behind me, and you’re by my side. I’m never walking alone. And when I’m running from you, you hem me in — pull me in — surround me so I can’t quite get away, because you love me so much. I am so thankful for this.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light will become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

There is nowhere I can run from you. You’re everywhere. You’re bigger than I could ever comprehend. You’re stronger than I could understand. Even when it feels like I’ve fallen too far, even making my bed in hell as it were, you are still there. I can never outrun you. And no matter where I go — even if I’m far from home and feel alone — you are still with me, guiding me, holding me fast, steadying my heart. Even when it feels like all is dark to me, it’s not dark to you. It’s not confusing to you. You’re not shocked or surprised by how things have ended up. You see the end from the beginning. You are light, and there is no dark for you because you shine into it. 

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Again, this theme, Lord: You are an intimate and involved Creator. You’re not far off. You’re not simply tolerant of me. You delight in me and rejoice over me. You painstakingly knit me together, which speaks of purposeful time and design. You created me on purpose and for a reason; I was not an accident or a surprise to you. And look at the way you’ve made me! With a body that functions like this — with arms that let me embrace, and a heart that pumps oxygen through my blood so I can live, and eyes that let me see and explore this world, and ears that let me hear music and laughter, and a mouth that can speak and engage others in communication. Lord, I am fearfully and wonderfully made! How did you even do this?? How did you come up with this? You are incredible! I am so thankful for this life you’ve given me. And you saw all my days before I’d lived even one of them! You saw today. Nothing about this day surprises you. You’ve known it from eternity.

“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.”

The thoughts you think toward me (other translations read “how amazing are your thoughts CONCERNING ME) outnumber the sand on the seashore. That’s a lot of sand…I could never being to count each grain of sand even in a small square inch of beach! And yet that’s the way you think toward me. It’s not just occasionally, or when I’m especially good or bad, or when you remember I exist. You’re continually aware of me. You delight in me. It’s like a father who delights in his daughter, or a husband who delights in his wife. I am continually on your mind. And every time I awake, even on mornings when I feel so far, I am still with you. And more than that, you are still with me.

— — — — —

The chapter continues, but that’s the section that I get stuck on. I can’t get enough of it. And I just keep praying it back to my Father who delights in me, and letting my parched soul soak it up like water. And then I walk through the day choosing to know the delight of my heavenly Father, in place of the disgust I woke up feeling about myself.

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4 thoughts on “When feeling bad about oneself: Psalm 139

  1. terrinida2015 says:

    This is also my go to Scripture and I really enjoyed reading your perspective of Psalm 139. I became a quadriplegic in August 2013. It’s been a struggle to feel whole and complete when none of my limbs work. But I love this Scripture because God knows me, he knew this would happen, and his works are wonderful!

    Like

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