Do you use practice kindness or condemnation? I confess my default setting for the voice inside my head leans heavily towards harsh criticism. I struggle to practice self-compassion. In Psalm 5, the psalmist calls out to the Lord for help.
1 Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. 2 Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (Psalm 5:1-3 ESV)
Thank you, Lord, for hearing me today and every time I pray to you. You are always awake and ready to listen to whatever is in my heart. Words are not required. You hear and understand my groanings.
When I choose to watch for you, I will always see you appear.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. 6 You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (Psalm 5:4-6 ESV)
Thank you, Lord, for taking care of all the wickedness and deception in this world. It is not up to me to bring justice or to right the balance of power. You have a plan to do all of this in your way and on your schedule. I can rest in you, knowing you are taking care of each and every evil act. You know and see all things, so I don’t have to. Help me release all wrongdoers into your capable hands and your perfect timing. Give me the ability to release my own mistakes and trust you to redeem them.
7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. (Psalm 5:7-8 ESV)
Thank you, Lord, for providing an abundance of steadfast love. You meet me at the door of your house with the warmest of welcomes. When I come in, I am so overwhelmed by your loving presence, I must bow down before you.
Whenever I look for you to lead me, you do. You gently take me by the hand and make my path clear by revealing each step on the journey. I travel light because I am covered by your righteousness and not weighed down by all of my sins.
9 For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. 10 Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. (Psalm 5:9-10 ESV)
There is no truth in the mouths of your enemies, Lord. Help me to speak the truth to myself and not relentlessly criticize myself or anyone else. Guide me away from pointing out what is lacking.
You cast out those who rebel. Your justice is perfect and absolute. I no longer have to keep score.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. 12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:11-12 ESV)
Thank you for providing a place of refuge open 24/7 because of your grace. Once there, I find myself joining the chorus of joyful singing. In your presence, I can hide inside the shield of your love and acceptance. Help me to practice speaking kindly to myself the way you always do. Silence the voice of my inner critic that seeks to condemn me. Today, I choose to dance in the fullness of your love and give thanks.