Psalm 1 - One A Week Psalm Project
Updated: Jan 3
One A Week Psalm Project
I enjoyed this process in this week 1. But I am aware that it is only week 1, and that I’m not back into normal life of work and study.
I was surprised at how much it felt as though the verses were travelling with me and yet as I reflect back on my notes, I see how difficult focus was at times.
I feel I am going to be learning and re-learning (and then re-learning) things which I have had to learn before.
This psalm brought my focus to the future kingdom of God as in this world it seems to be those who are doing the wrong things who are prospering. But eternally, with the long term view, we believe things will be different – that those who suffer will have less suffering. I swing between feeling grateful for this for those who suffer, and also worried that maybe my suffering is too light?
Thoughts about the project in general
I work quite well with specific projects so even though this one seem ridiculously long and ambitious, I’ve begun with a specific structure, a time frame, and a steady stream of small steps of progress to keep me going. However, I am also willing to hold these plans lightly. To make plans but to be prepared for them to change, or adapt, or grow as need be. I’m pretty self motivated and this is self initiated so I can just see how I go.
I struggle to focus. When I am well and engaged in life I do struggle to slow down – when I am unwell I naturally fall into stillness, but then find focus difficult for a different reasons. Overall, I simply need to practice focus. I hope to listen more.
I need to be prepared to take longer with this process than I sometimes feel I want to because the temptation is to rush– to say to myself ‘I’ve read this Psalm, now go onto the next.’ I need to take the moments as they come and engage in the process.
Instead I need to push through the familiarity and the boredom; the feelings of ‘I’ve read this already’ and the ‘what else can I possibly get from this?’ and take longer. To sit within the now, and give the process some time, to see what is helpful and what needs to be modified, but mostly to be open to the experience. The process I have put together is informed by knowledge of myself and past experience. A process informed by a desire to meet further and deeper with God. A process that can be adapted, but I don’t think should be shortened.
It is not an achievement or task to be met but a process to be journeyed. This is not an achievement to be made but a process to be present within.
The tension between product and process pulls tight.
A taunt rope to be both carefully and beautifully walked across.
The writing part of this creative process might simply be by ‘rote’ - which isn’t always a helpful way of learning – however it is a form of ‘practice’ for writing out the verses. If I don’t pay attention to what I am doing, say the words within me as I write, then I make mistakes.
I don’t actually like the page I created this week. It began as too representational – I think I was stuck closer to translating rather than responding. This project is not about interpreting the Psalm, rather it is about living with them and responding. It may be difficult to remember this as I go along.
I dislike glue and I want to do what I am comfortable with so I won’t use it so much – not sure why I feel like I am ‘expected’ to use it in collage work. I also need to work on layering and moving through representation to whatever is next.
It has brought into focus how poorly I do intercession –hardly at all.
I need to try to improve this, I’m not sure how but I will work on it.
About Psalm 1
Is some of the struggle for focus because I am not sure how much I believe Psalm 1? The ‘wicked’ prosper all the time. I guess this means I have to ponder what ‘prosper’ means, for faithful people struggle all the time; it is actually more of an expectation than not. Is this referring to the next life, with the return of Christ, the faithful will prosper? Is the hope for that, enough in this life?
Doing this project may help me develop a focus on a longer-term view rather than only thinking about life in the immediate. It is a 3year project, which in some ways may as well be an eternal one given my lack of long term plans at the moment. Could this longer-term view help me focus on an all encompassing view of God’s eternal view?
We are our decisions made over and over again. The small decisions make up the largeness of our life. The daily decisions impact our very being and our doing. We are the people we decide to be and no one, not even God, make force us to be otherwise. But God will help us change, if we ask.
How to be a tall tree
Search out the water that might appear to be out of reach,
too far away, too deeply down. Send down your roots to be refreshed by the secret streams that flow beneath, while stretching your branches up above you as your reach for the Son.
Lord I am both excited by and fearful of this project. I am fearful of trying to do it while working and not being able to give it attention. I find doing anything while working difficult. Please give me the dedication to stick with this in a form that is sustainable – to truly make it a habit – a spiritual practice. “but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night” vs2.
May I learn to listen deeply, to discern wisely and without hurry and to love fully.