“Yearly” Examine, Elephants, and Psalm 131

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to the year 2012.  Today I decided to begin the new year by reviewing the old one, using the Daily Examination of Consciousness as a guide.  Some of what came up was expected, and some surprised me, but overall it was a fruitful time.  I used a journal my brother brought back for me from China when he came to visit me in June 2010. I had only written in the first couple of pages, recording spiritual exercises from September and October 2010 before I got engaged in November and my life was completely taken over by planning a wedding, getting married, moving several times, working overtime, and becoming overwhelmed by fatigue.  2011 was a crazy year.  Now in 2012, I hope to fill the pages of this journal with my encounters with God through various spiritual exercises.

my elephant journal

As I closed the journal after my prayer this morning, I noticed there is an elephant on the front.  Out of curiosity, I looked up the meaning of elephants and came across these adjectives in my web research: grace, prosperity, power, loyalty, wisdom, luck, solitude, intelligence, honor, stability, patience, temperance, chastity, reliability, dignity, royalty, pride, determination, responsibility, sensitivity and social connection.  Specific to China, the elephant represents happiness, longevity, and good luck.  Wow, that’s a lot to live up to.  In any case, I like that the elephant is a symbol of so many positive traits and that 2012 is the year of writing in my elephant journal.

I also had my Bible out in case I needed some inspiration during my “yearly” examine, and I happened to flip through the Psalms and come to one I’ve never really noticed before: Psalm 131.

1 My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

Over the past two years, God has used a lot of imagery about babies to teach me about dependence on and trust in God to take care of the the things that burden me as well as to take care of me.  Now, as I move into a new season, I believe God is using this psalm to show me I have grown enough to become the weaned child–older and more content with the waiting and patience that come with seeking God.  Now that life isn’t so crazy and I have more free time to invest, my soul has become still and quiet, hoping in and waiting on the Lord as King David modeled.

I will take Psalm 131 into 2012 to remind me to wait on God with the patience of a toddler (however little that might be), confident that I have tried God and found God indeed dependable and trustworthy.  Welcome, 2012!