38 and Psalm 33

The past few days, there is a verse in Psalm 33 which continues to play in my thoughts.  I think it’s fitting, considering the year that is behind me and they new year that is stretched out ahead.  A blank slate, both planned out and waiting to be created.  It’s a present that I get to unwrap each day.  New mercies, new hardships to learn in, brave new steps to take in the dance of life, new friends, and the newness of knowing my dear ones even better with a deeper love.

The past year has been full of the new and unknown.  This space of my life is one where I am simultaneously really excited and really scared, and it’s a really good place to be.  So, the verse…Psalm 33:3 “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” (ESV)

Sing to the Lord a new song!  Each day is the opportunity to sing a new song!  Each day!  It can have the same congruent values, but I can choose to get up and do something new.  The year has been full of “something new” for me.  As I round the corner, coming into the straightaway of 37, I’m excited about 38!  I’m excited for the newness, I only get one shot at 38 and I want to make the most of it. 

Playing the same song each year, I will get the same results.  Please don’t misunderstand or jump to the conclusion that the results I’ve gotten thus far are less than, or bad, in any way.  My life has been wonderful.  But I’m ready for the next thing!  I’m ready for more.  I’m ready to live life not holding back, and I’m ready to learn how to do that.

The part of Psalm 33:3 that really strikes me, is the “play skillfully”.  The only way to play skillfully, is to practice.  So many times I’ve held back because I figured in order to “play” my instrument, I needed to do so perfectly.  That doesn’t work.  Portions of the definition for the Hebrew word ‘skillfully’ include, “earnestly, be (make) better, make cheerful, and diligent”. 

Play skillfully.  It has nothing to do with perfection, and everything to do with pressing on and doing the thing.  It’s being the fullest expression of God’s love and creativity, for that day.  Using the tools provided.  Taking steps out and making movement forward.  My playing skillfully today will look differently time next year, all the while experiencing and accepting grace along the way.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to do some personal work.  It’s a long and beautiful story, but the end result was a statement that goes like this…”I am a complete and powerful woman, being a guiding rock with compassion and creativity.”  At the time, that end part felt both a little strange and completely fitting.  This statement continues to guide, encourage and stretch me.  It continues to be a tool in the “play skillfully” process. 

The other part of Psalm 33:3 that challenges me, in a good way, is “with loud shouts”.  If you know me, I’m not too loud.  In fact, my entire life has been filled with echoes of “speak up!”  It used to really bother me, because I felt like I was already shouting at people!  (This was always in reference to volume.)  But the truth is, I’ve held much of it in for my whole life.  Not speaking up when I needed to, or wanted to.  Holding back  for fear that I would be judged or misunderstood.  Moving forward, it won’t always come out in shouts, or in the way it is intended…but that’s roll of practice, right? 

So!  I’m challenging myself (and you) to keep singing (and dancing), to a new song each day. Skillfully playing the strings gifted, with loud shouts of gratitude and praise.  I’m excited about 38!  With all the richness, challenges and growth awaiting.  Party time!   

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