It’s been a while. The next blog I had intended to write was to be on Selah- you know the “stop and ponder or pause” word found littered through Psalms. Evidently, I myself took a loner pause than I had intended!
There is something magical in pausing. Somehow when silence is given space, it causes even eyes to speak and a smile to become deafening and captivating.
Literally, Selah is an active pausing. Kinda weird, right? An action word, it is thought to have been a musical notation in Hebrew composition. When you see a selah, you are to stop singing and give attention to the instrumental portion. It’s not that there is a dead silence; more accurately, the vocalist gives honor where honor is due. I love this picture!
“Praise befits the upright.” Psalms 33 told me this morning. I have been journaling for years. Sometimes I get stuck in patterns of fruitless analyzing and disappointment. Part of the problem with this selah isn’t that I don’t make the time, but it’s actually where I let my thoughts and intentions dwell. Before I know it, midnight has arrived and I am no closer to peace. So in reality, there is no selah at all. I didn’t give honor to anything but my own failed will power; it was only a stilling of my body so my mind could clear itself in the same mud pit! That is exhausting. My energies were so given to problem-solving, I didn’t have time for refreshment.
This led me to binge quiet times. That’s where you try to encourage your heart with incredible God-encounters, but the fact is they were long enough ago that the fresher everyday reminders of sinful humanity become your go-to’s for truth. So, in my heart, I kept hearing the phrase “yesterday’s manna is no good anymore.”
That, folks, was the first crux of the matter.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. It’s not that my mind was dwelling on things inherently bad. But, it wasn’t a true selah. Selah gives honor. Selah pauses long enough to recognize that though the Creator spins the universe, the created are still His steady, prized focus. At the same time, there is no shame in asking God to repeat Himself. “God, how much do you love me today?” There is no silliness in stating the same phrase every sunrise; “God you are amazing; you did it again.” It is the successful and heartfelt repetition that instills in us confidence. That’s why martial arts trainees practice one choreographed kata for weeks. It must become instinct to be useful.
So, is your mind dwelling on things that will be useful to you?
The second crux of the matter- which should really be the first- is desire. What I desire, I will dwell on, and afterward, it will become action. Painful are the prayers of allowing God to change my desires. Again, not necessarily inherently bad, but perhaps not God’s best. “Yet,” I told myself, “if I have learned to trust Him through other painful experience, if I have had a chance to walk away and His grace kept me close, if I have come to love Him as my most faithful friend… then couldn’t I trust He would not take a thing unless to replace it with something greater?”
I am a work in progress. My taste buds are still developing, but today’s manna is by far the most nourishing.
In seeking, I find. In the stillness, He draws near. It’s not for the love of a perfect selah streak that I am after. It’s for the love of hearing his voice that I can’t help but to quiet my own so that his whisper may become to me an earth-shattering roar.