The fifteenth psalm is the kind you should paint in pretty calligraphy, accented with pastel watercolor flowers, and hang on your wall. It’s short + it’s sweet. It uses words I love like sojourn and dwell. The kind of words that dance in your imagination.

Sojourn makes me want to stuff a backpack with quick dry t-shirts and buy a one-way ticket to Europe. Dwell makes me want to plant myself deep in a single community and learn to know it intimately.

And hearing them together makes me want to figure out a way to do them both at the same time.

In this sweet psalm, David asks the Lord who will sojourn and dwell with Him: in his tent, on His holy hill. Though sojourn often means “a temporary stay” in the context of traveling (and even us being sojourners in this life), David uses it in the context of abiding. Both sojourn and dwell carry width + depth. It’s not a visit; it’s a home.

These words are rich with the idea of remaining.

It’s like King David is saying, “Yahweh, how do I stay here with your presence? It’s so easy to slip away… but how can I not? How can I remain in your company?”

His reflection on this question overflows in a series of twelve characteristics. Qualities of a steadfast, immovable person. Attributes of the people who remain on the holy hill, in the presence of the Lord.

Lean in a minute, friends. This is so key.

‘Cause isn’t that what we’re after? When it comes down to it, don’t we just want to be with Jesus?

We seek and try and fumble through so many things that don’t draw us closer to Yahweh’s heart. We observe the character of Christ written throughout the story of Scripture and we say we want it… but in practice we chase so many worthless things.

We chase things that are empty.

We chase things that don’t fulfill.

We chase things that hurt us.

We chase idols that mock the God who invites us to remain.

King David is gettin’ after it when he inquires of the living God, “Who remains with you? I want to be one of them.” I read that intro and my soul echoes with a longing to know the answer. And there it is:

“She who walks blamelessly and does what is right

and speaks truth in her heart.”

I couldn’t read another word.

Mmmmph. You see, I can speak truth out loud with the best of ‘em. I can write cards and send text messages and help friends when they’re hurting. I can memorize Scripture and share it when my people need a light to shine when it’s dark. I can speak truth with my words and really, truly mean it.

But to speak it in my own heart? That’s a whole other ball game. One I fail at that daily. Hourly, if I’m being honest.

Instead of speaking truth in my heart, I worship a laundry list of lies that seeks to destroy my hope, my passion, my calling, and my life. I dwell in all that I am not. I let the nonsense of deception seep into my thoughts and like a broken record my mind is trapped:

You’re not enough.

You’re not enough.

You’re not enough.

And the next thing I know, I’m weary + empty + broken down from the onslaught of lies I’ve been speaking in my heart, all the while speaking the truth out loud to the ones I love.

Truth needs to be spoken.

It needs to be spoken when you don’t get the job, or when the boy decides he doesn’t like you. When friends die of cancer, and when you don’t get into your dream school.

In loud shouts and teary whispers, to the ones we love and the ones we hardly know. When the sun invites a fresh start, and again when it hides away for the night. When we want to hear it, and when we don’t. Out loud and in our hearts.

Do you want to dwell on His holy hill? Do you want to remain?

Then we must decide that speaking truth in our heart isn’t a cozy idea, but a necessity. When we let lies rule over truth we’re walking ourselves off the holy hill. We can’t remain in His presence if we’re saturating our minds with unmet superlatives.

You were made for the remaining. don’t trade it for the broken record.

+ How full is your reservoir of truth? You don’t know what you don’t know. You can’t speak truth you haven’t grappled with and understood. Fill up on truth this morning so you can speak it in your heart tonight.

+ Who can you count on to speak truth when you forget to speak it to yourself?

{I revisited this psalm leading up to my best friend’s birthday, asking Jesus to give me a word to speak over her new year. I thought of Michéle as one who so longs to dwell on the holy hill. I thought of our friendship and the journey we have shared over the last seven years. And I thought how often we’ve prayed together and for one another with a deep, deep longing that Truth would saturate our hearts and minds. That above all else, truth would permeate all we say + all we do. And I was reminded how grateful I am for a friend who speaks truth to me. Everyone should have a friend like Michéle.}

If you don’t have a Michéle, ask Jesus to lead you to a friend who will challenge you and urge you closer to His heart. If you already have this kind of truth chaser, send them some love today.