twisted and stuck, or held and comforted?

sunlit path

“The antipsalm tells what life feels like and looks like whenever God vanishes from sight…It expresses the fears and silent despair that cannot find a voice because there’s no one to really talk to…Something bad gets last say when whatever you live for is not God…”

The antipsalm 23

I’m on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing’s quite right.
I’m always restless. I’m easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It’s a jungle — I feel overwhelmed. It’s a desert — I’m thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can’t fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life’s confusing. Why don’t things ever really work out?
I’m haunted by emptiness and futility — shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I’d rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I’m alone … facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can’t really trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me — except me.
And I’m so much all about ME, sometimes it’s sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I’m left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, “Hell is other people.”
I have to add, “Hell is also myself.”
It’s a living death,
and then I die.

“…the real Psalm 23 captures what life feels like and looks like when Jesus Christ puts his hand on your shoulder…Can you taste the difference?”

The real Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

“You might want to read both antipsalm and psalm again, slowly. Maybe even read out loud. The psalm is sweet, not bitter. It’s full, not empty. You aren’t trying to grab the wind with your bare hands. Someone else takes you in His hands. You are not alone.”

(antipsalm 23 and all quotes by David Powlison, CCEF)

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About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and currently work at two jobs for which I'm very grateful -- part-time at my kids' school, and as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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2 Responses to twisted and stuck, or held and comforted?

  1. Laura says:

    Wow and ugh…related way too closely to the antipsalm

    • Jill says:

      I love your honesty, dear Laura! And, yes … but I also know you hunger and thirst for the Lord, His righteousness, and His kingdom … and that you “taste the difference.” 🙂

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