Connecting creativity to the Creator. That’s the mission statement of Paraklesis. We were made in the image of a beautiful and creative God, we were meant to see, touch, smell, hear, and taste this world, not just intellectualize it. I’m slowly working through Psalm 27:4-8 in creative ways to see what the Lord has for me in those spaces. I might paint, dance, sing, write a poem, make music, or cook something that feels appropriate. This week, I wrote it with calligraphy. It’s not a “how-to”, it’s an insight to my personal discipline of where I think the Lord is leading me. (You can find the video on my Instagram here.)
I’ll share my insights and the things that come to mind as I engage deeper and deeper with this scripture. It’s living and active and I know the Lord has more to teach me. Feel free to join along in this journey with your own scripture and see how he speaks to you.
The one thing I seek most is to Dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.
As I was writing this portion of the scripture, I started thinking about what it means to live in someone’s house. Scripturally the House of the Lord is how we often see the temple or sanctuary described, yet I was thinking about all the houses I’ve been in. The ones I’ve spent most time in are the places where I’m considered family. In addition to being in the place of worship, it almost feels to me like David was asking to be counted among God’s people, to dwell in his family, all the days of his life. Never leaving and always abiding.
Side note: I recently completed a seminar on the effect off trauma for my counseling license. The presenter Bessel Van der Kolk shared about the trauma people experienced during 9/11. He pointed out that the majority of people in NYC who were able to flee and run to their homes did not suffer the long term effects of PTSD. Essentially, people who had safe and secure homes and relationships with their family were more insulated and protected from negative life events. It didn’t become their defining factor.
Back to David. As he continues in his psalm, he shares: He will conceal me there when troubles come, he will hide me in his sanctuary. Then I will hold my head high above my enemies.
From a trauma perspective, David went through the works. His literal life was in danger for years as Saul pursued him all over the countryside threatening to kill him over and over again. Not to mention any of the military battles he participated in or when he faced Goliath as a young boy. But in this psalm, David confidently states, I’ll be concealed in the house of the Lord and I can hold my head high above my enemies. He wasn’t crushed. He wasn’t abandoned. He was safe.
Just like Van Der Kolk pointed out, when your home is secure, trauma doesn’t have near the lasting effect that it could.
Side note: to all the moms out there (to myself as much as the next person) who are questioning if your work is sufficient. Cultivating your home to be a place of security and safety where your children learn to rely on the Lord is the most important thing you can do. Not to protect them from every difficult thing in life that comes their way, but to be a secure dwelling place for them to encounter the King of Kings and allow their souls to dwell in His house.
Your work matters.
Writing just 4 verses with ink and pen and no backspace caused me to be more present with the words on the page. I was more thoughtful and intentional with each letter I was writing. How far removed are we from thoughtful word exchanges of even two generations ago. Once written, it’s there for good. I wonder if we were all forced to write by hand again with ink and pen before typing anything online how much more gentle and patient we would be with our words. How many fewer angry texts, mistakes, and critical comments there would be clouding up our views? Maybe we would have more humanity, more thoughtfulness, and more peace. Just maybe.
My heart has heard you say to me, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord I am coming.” I want to respond when the Lord calls me to join him and talk with him. How can I respond if my mind and heart is too full of lesser things? Lord, forgive me putting too much emphasis on things that don’t matter and not enough on talking with you.
I’m going to continue to work through this scripture, in painting, song, dance and whatever else the Lord invites me to. Feel free to join in with your own scripture and engage creatively with me.