The internet, and social media especially, likes to talk a lot about mindset -about having “intentionality” with our thoughts. I only mock a little. I get the idea, yes we should be aware of our thought patterns and try to identify and correct any woe-is-me mindset. And scripture certainly instructs us to take every thought captive and submit them to Christ.
But as Christians, we must be the ultimate realists. And we know, like deep down on a cellular level, that we are broken at the baseline. All the affirmations and attempts at “manifestations” (ahem, witchcraft) in the world will not heal what is inherently broken. We will never overcome the sinful bent in our humanness with positive thinking. We need to look outside of ourselves for that.
This is why, on this hard and beautiful Monday morning, I wanted to share my favorite Psalm of Ascent (Psalms 121). This ancient collection of poems, or songs, was sung by the faithful as they traveled to the temple to worship God. They were sung in small groups as folks walked along dusty roads. They were whispered by individuals as they came to the stone steps that ascended upward, where they would meet God.
And they are for us, too. We can sing this simple call-and-response as we are taking our kids to school. We can sing as we start our day, coffee in hand, eyes lifted upward. We keep looking up because that is where the real help comes from. Not our mindful practices, not our goal-setting techniques, not our inner-selves. Our real hope comes from a real God, who is ruling from on high and still -amazingly, gloriously- cares for us.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.