o-ver-come • verb: to get the better of: surmount

What do You Need to Overcome to Find Wholeness?

On our journey to learn how to properly nurture ourselves, we often hit a wall or roadblock that seems impossible to overcome. I believe that while weary travelers often start a journey to wholeness by working on mental, academic/artistic, or physical challenges, each of those journeys will eventually lead us to our need for spiritual growth. Why? Because at some point, we realize that we can’t make lasting changes in lives by ourselves.

For the past year, I have engaged in a study of the Psalms. This week, Psalm 107 especially resonated with me. It offers hope for any kind of traveler at any point in his or her journey. It offers hope that no matter what kind of challenge I have to overcome, God has offered help in the past and will offer help in the present and the future.

A Psalm for those feeling #overwhelmed. #self-care Click To Tweet

The Conceit of Psalm 107

So, grab your Bible (or visit BibleGateway), and read along with me. First, we’ll start with an English literature term: conceit. A conceit in literature means the organizational theme or concept of a poem or literary work.

The author of the Psalm starts off the chapter by introducing the conceit—let those redeemed by the Lord rejoice. The redeemed include people he has rescued from the east, the west, the north and the south. My journaling Bible, a NIV translation, has a footnote next to the word ‘south’ saying the original Hebrew word was ‘sea.’

I created this handy chart to help me understand the Psalm:

Verses Group Roadblock Action to Overcome Results
4-9 -those from the east -hunger
-lives ebbing away
-cry out to the Lord -God delivers them from their trouble
-God sets them on the right path
-he satisfies their thirst and gives them good things
10-16 -those from the west -darkness
-suffering as a consequence of their actions
-cry out to the Lord -God brings them out of darkness
-removes the gloom
-breaks the chains
-God can break the most powerful bond
17-22 -those from the north -foolishness
-suffering because of sinful choices
-filled with loathing and refusing food
-near death
-cry out to the Lord -God sends his word to heal them
-God rescues them from the grave
23-32 -those on the sea (from the south) -life in peril
-lost courage
-at wit’s end
-cry out to the Lord -God stilled the storm
-God guides them to their desired haven

What Does God Offer Me to Help Me Overcome?

overcomeNext, I looked through the list of problems and discovered that many of them resonate with me (or have resonated in the past). I can identify with needing to overcome all of these problems (ok, except for loathing food—I’ve yet to experience that—only its counterpart, eating too much).

The solution each group chose? Cry out to the Lord. We don’t need fancy prayers, a priest, or a pastor. We only need to cry out to God and that gives him permission to work in our situation. It doesn’t guarantee that he will help us when and how we expect. After all, he IS God—Creator and infinitely creative.

I encourage you to reach the entire Psalm for yourself. Discover what response each group has to God’s action on their behalf. I love journaling because it helps me to keep a record of those times when I hit roadblocks and needed help to overcome them. God doesn’t necessarily work in a linear manner from roadblock to result in a neat human timeline. The journal gives me a record of roadblocks and results—which then guides my response.

“Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.” Micah 6:5b

So, dig in and finish out the Psalm. Let me know what you think or what you learned. If you feel comfortable, share with us how God has helped you overcome a roadblock in your life.

Nurture Yourself Takeaway #27—Just do it! Cry out to God and give him permission to work in your life.


  1. Hi, I LOVE that Psalm too and ended up doing a devotional on it for my church’s wilderness ministry awhile back. I distinctly remember the refrain, “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress” repeated over and over in regards to each unique issue, just as you pointed out. So this Psalm holds a special place in my heart. Thanks for sharing on it today. 🙂 Your FMF neighbor #49

  2. LOVE this! Thanks for breaking this down for us. It is amazing how often I need the reminder that all I need to do is cry out to my Abba Father who delights in me. Beautiful words. Keep writing, sister! FMF #50

  3. I love the depth of your Bible study. I will definitely be pulling out my Bible and soaking in this Psalm with the help of your wonderful notes. I would say that I currently identify with those from the South, and I would love to be rescued from my storm and brought to my desired haven. I also found it very interesting that the action point on all of them was to cry out to the Lord! Why is that so often the last thing we do? Thanks for the challenge. I really appreciate it!

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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