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  • Writer's pictureChrystie Cole

Morning Pages With The Psalmists

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks about the creative practice of something she calls “Morning Pages.” She discusses the approach in-depth on her website, but in essence, it’s three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done first thing in the morning to clear your mind.

When I got sober twenty-six years ago, my mind was my worst enemy, and writing was one of the early tools a sponsor gave me to combat the insanity. She didn’t care how many pages I wrote or what I wrote. My task was to write about anything and everything I was thinking, feeling, and experiencing and to do it as long as it took to “write the crazy out.”

Even though I wasn’t a Christian then, I began each letter with “Dear God” and then proceeded to unload all the toxic poison swirling about in my brain, hoping to find some measure of peace, sanity, and strength to face the day sober. I’ve amassed two decades of “Dear God” letters. Some mark a struggle, whether internal or external. Some capture deep joy. Some display the discipline of just showing up daily when I’m not sure I even have anything to say. Others follow the winding, sometimes treacherous, road of faith in a broken world.

In a video on her website, Cameron says that morning pages could also be called “mourning pages” because they are often “a farewell to life as you knew it and an introduction to life as it’s going to be.” This has certainly been my experience. Morning pages are where I can be completely honest, not just with God but with myself. They are where I face fears, grieve loss, process hurt, pray through resentments, and grapple with forgiveness. They are where I go through all the stages of the grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). And they are where I wrestle with God and the things of life, which makes them holy ground.

I recently started a new practice—journaling my way through Psalms. The psalms are like “morning pages” for the psalmists—prayers chronicling their joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs. I’m drawn to the psalms because they are raw and real; they don’t sugarcoat the life of faith in a profoundly broken world. The psalmists ask honest questions of God, questions like, “Why do you hide in times of trouble?” “How long, O Lord?” and “Will you forget me forever?” Journaling through the psalms grounds me. They remind me that the life of faith isn’t easy, and I don’t have to pretend like it is. The psalmists have given me the gift of going first—permitting me to experience the full range of human emotion without sanitizing or spiritualizing it. And, in doing so, they lead me on the journey toward substantive hope, healing, and freedom in Yahweh—the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God.

I want to invite you on this journey too. I will share a reflection from Psalms on the website each week until we’ve made it through all one hundred fifty. These reflections are my version of morning pages with the Bible. They aren’t polished or complete. I’ve written many of them as text messages to a friend doing the exercise with me. They are not an exercise in understanding how someone else interprets the psalm through the use of commentaries or an airtight theological reflection on the Word of God. Instead, I sit down with the psalmist—a fellow sinner, sufferer, and saint—and learn from them what it looks like to follow Yahweh with honesty and integrity amid all that life throws my way.

If you’d like to join me, you can do so in a few ways:

  1. You can sign up for email updates to receive my reflections when they are published.

  2. You can read the week’s psalm and share your reflections here in the comment section on the website. We will start next week with Psalm 1.

  3. You can grab a friend and go on the journey together. Commit to reading one Psalm daily, and then send each other a text message with what stood out to you or how God used the psalmist’s words to strengthen your faith or provide you with hope, healing, or freedom. Yours doesn't have to look like mine. It's better if it doesn't. It needs to be your morning pages. Just start writing and see how the Spirit leads. One thing that guides me when reading Bible passages for understanding and application is to ask myself three questions as I read: 1. What does this passage say about who God is? 2. What does this passage tell me about humanity? 3. How should I respond in light of what I just read?

Until next week,


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