This week’s Castimonia meeting topic is that of Psalm 103. As part of my recovery, I have been reading through the Bible for the past 4 years. One of the things I have learned is to personalize my Bible readings so that it relates more to me and not all others. In recovery, I have learned that I tend to think goodness is for others and I am not worthy of God’s grace. When I personalize passages, it brings God’s word alive in my life.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all (my) sins
and heals all (my) diseases,
4 who redeems (my) life from the pit
and crowns (me) with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies (my) desires with good things
so that (my) youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat (me) as (my) sins deserve
or repay (me) according to (my) iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed (my) transgressions.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how (I was) formed,
he remembers that (I am) dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with (my) children’s children —
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
As I read Psalm 103, a few points stand out. In the Psalm written above, I have changed some of the words written by King David to reflect personalization of this Psalm. As a facilitator and having attended several groups, I and me statements are key in sharing so as to personalize the share. Therefore, I substituted the words I, My, and Me for the original text, thus personalizing this Psalm. I call it the JLS version. Truth be told, I believe the NLT version does something similar. I used the NIV version for this post.
Lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 are some of my favorites. Beginning with Line 2, I read how I must not forget all the benefits God has and in Line 3, I am reminded that He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. Moving onto Line 4, I read that God redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion. And finally, in Line 5, I am reminded that, in my recovery, I am now satisfied with good, non-addictive things thus renewing my youth.
One focus point for me, personally, is where I read “who redeems (my) life from the pit and crowns (me) with love and compassion.” In my life, and especially in my addiction, I have been in that pit. I thought I was so far down in the pit that there was no hope for me but to live in the pit the rest of my life. My addiction went so far down the scale that I now know that no human power could have restored me. I now know that God redeemed my life from the pit of my addiction and crowned me with love and compassion. I did not receive what I deserved. I received love and compassion from those around me, God’s love, because as humans, they could not have shown me love and compassion for what I had done.
The next line, Line 5, is also a nugget of gold in my recovery. My youth has been renewed because I now satisfied with good things; my God, my family, my recovery, etc… In my past, I was always trying to be satisfied with the addiction and the next best “high.” This next best “high” was never achieved, nor could it ever be truly achieved. I would have continued until I was exhausted and dead and would have never been satisfied. I was exhausted when I would finish, and then start again. It was a never ending struggle, completely draining to me. Now my life is filled with good things, non-exhaustive things that satisfy me. I always say that my worst day in recovery is still better than my best day in the addiction, this line signifies why!
Take what you like and leave the rest.