When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:19, NIV) When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:19, NRSVUE) When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up. (Psalm 94:19, MSG)
Each translation of the same verse hits me differently. How about you?
They describe similar, yet quite different bodied reactions amid all the psalmist and their community are experiencing around them: The chaos. The injustice. God’s silence.
Comparing the language in these translations, I am reminded of the importance of self-awareness when calling on God to handle the inequities of the world, to punish our “enemies,” to make “us” the victors.
Self-awareness in the work for liberation matters. Am I operating out of anxiety? Am I overwhelmed? Burned-out? Is my anger grounded in love for myself and my people? Or burning from shame that is slowly turning into a rage that is destroying from within?
Self-awareness matters. Each translation speaks to remembering God’s promise while describing the unique healing required and received.
What is the healing you need? Do you know? How can you find out?
Self-awareness matters because it will affect how we show up in the movement. How we show up for one another. For ourselves. Along with calling on God, the psalmist reminds us to self-reflect and to remember—who we are and Whose we are.
Find someone to accompany you. Let the community hold you accountable. Remember God’s love for all of creation.
God of Redeeming Love, thank you for your breath that grounds us and your grace covered in language that draws us closer to our true selves, calling all creation back into right relationship. Amen.
Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.