I'm Not Paralyzed : writing Under The Shadow (Psalm 91)

Under The Shadow was my response to a writechristiansongs.com challenge. 
By the way, if you're a songwriter and a Christian - any level, really - the free resources and community are worth checking out.

The challenge was to write a song inspired by  Psalm 91, but not word for word and specifically not the whole thing. This was especially hard for me to wrap my head around, initially, because Joseph and I had already written a Psalm 91 song and it was the entire thing. So, first, I had to get that out of my head!

I really love writing songs that are deeply rooted in scripture. I love the idea and purpose of scripture memory songs, although I struggle with finding a way to make them feel current without watering down the message in any way. One of the techniques that helps with this, for me, is to pull up several different translations in parallel - at least one paraphrase, like The Message, and at least one that's a more literal treatment like NASB. 

But I wasn't writing about the whole thing - so what could I write that would drill down on one idea in the psalm and say it in a new way? I had a month to write and post a song, so I meditated on Psalm 91 for a couple of weeks. What stuck out to me is that while God is my refuge, He doesn't promise that trouble won't come. If anything, He promises that it will. 

God, You're my refuge; a safe place to hide.
The darkness will come, 
but You are my song in the night

We live in a fallen world. And, if trouble will come, then sometimes we will be afraid. During this past season of change, I faced many fears and I battled through insecurity. I also read an awesome book by Jon Acuff called START that challenged me to embrace community and "punch fear in the face" - when verse 5 says "you will not fear..." I thought about that saying "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement that something else is more important than fear" (Ambrose Redmoon). This is a song inspired by Psalm 91, so honestly I didn't do a deep word study of the original language to see if it was ok to say it this way. Experientially, I know that the fear still lurks around the corner. So this section became:

And I'm not paralyzed by the fear
Although it still whispers in my ear
Though the flood washes over me, 
I know You go with me,
And You're keeping me near

And then, of course, to get to the point of the Psalm. I know, everyone writes "under the shadow of Your wings." But I feel like the rest of the song communicated my fresh twist on it, hopefully in a way that feels relevant. I love the imagery of being under the shadow of God's wings through the storm. Here, there is peace; and here, I choose to rest in Him. 

Under the shadow of Your wing
Here in Your presence, I find my peace.
I'm never letting You go, all of my life 
I will trust You alone.

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