"Search me, O God, and know my heart" - Psalm 139:23.
I read this the first time in a blur of other verses and in a rush to finish the chapter so that I could say that I made it through another chapter in this behemoth book of Psalms I took on months and months ago. I put on some Of Monsters and Men, which will always put me in a pensive state especially their new EP releases, but I digress. I put on the music and then I felt the urge to read it again. Then I read it again and again and then again. And in my head a vision formed: Me standing, arms stretched out, palms wide open with fingers that reached so far that they felt like they were trying to escape from my hand. Eyes shut tight, chin tilted ever so slightly upwards towards the heavens so that every freckle, eyelash, and crease on my face was illuminated. A subtle darkness that felt thick and foreboding filled the space and I stood in the middle of it all. Out of my mouth fell the words, "Search me, O God, and know my heart". It took on a new meaning at that point. Search me, O God, and know all the things I hide from everyone else, the lonely feelings, or inadequacies, the selfishness, and the shame. Know all the things that make me feel like a child again, giddy with joy and hope. Know the people that make my heart soar and the ones that make it rip and tear. Know the doubts that run through my head and fall into my ever so welcoming heart for a home. And all of a sudden, that phrase brought weight - both comfort and fear.
Isn't this what we strive for? We want someone to look into our eyes and know that they are seeing our hearts. It's the plot line for every romance story and often what we look for from our family or our best friends. We want to be known, deeply and accurately known. That is why it is so scary and trapping when we put up walls barring people from seeing our hearts through our eyes and scarier still when it works. That slow moving fade as friends fall apart and significant others lose their connection and families become marred by choices and by life itself instills this dull ache of our fears becoming true. And in our heart of hearts we retreat, we board up the windows that were our eyes and our words and we say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me" (Psalm 139:11). We fade our own uniqueness and our own courage which once allowed us to take risks and to be steamrolled by the broken world around us without the loss of hope. We put to rest our whimsical dreams, or our life passions of travel, or of changing the world, or of getting married, or of having kids, or of experiencing true hope, true joy, and true peace, or of whatever it is that we won't let pass our lips for fear of actually thinking that we might have a chance of it coming true.
But then that sentence: "Search me, O God, and know my heart". It comes with the following, "even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you" (Psalm 139:12). There is no fortress that can be built, no window that can be boarded, no darkness for our fears to use as cover, no walls to become wallflowers on. There is only you, the one that was "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) standing and pleading that the God that made you would fully search you and fully know you. I tell you something, everything else seems to pale in comparison at that point, the silly insecurities that forced you to settle, the crazy fears that incapacitated your courageous love, and the unbelievable lies that blinded your sight. Read the sentence again and again and then again and make it your plea. It's crazy how liberating it can be when we let ourselves be seen; maybe then we can let the wild truth that we are pursued and loved sink in. Maybe then we can believe in a world that brings brave hope, foolish joy, and whimsical life dreams; better yet, maybe then we can partake in it.