I found myself sitting on the couch this evening trying to relax. Other than a simple supper I had planned, and of course my continuous chore of taking care of children, there wasn’t much left for me to do. Laundry was completed, even folded and put away. The kitchen was clean, and the rest of it could wait. With the reality of a free Friday night ahead I should have felt relief. But I didn’t. I felt burdened.
I sat in this unwelcome spirit of worry and began to pray. Why? Why do I feel this way?
I opened my Bible and felt drawn to Psalm 23. It was a psalm I was familiar with, after all I prayed a portion from it many a work morning when I stood in the hot shower spray.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Verse 4)
This verse had always served me well, reminding me that fear wasn’t necessary when I trusted in my shepherd.
But I read on. I started at the beginning, and I saw this.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. (Verses 1-3)
The beginning of Psalm 23 hit me like a lightning bolt, jolting me aware. You see, the past week or two had found me in a flurry of activity. My mind had been submerged in the conundrum that is selling a home. In the midst of packing, preparing for a move, and all the logistics that entails, I had also started a new semester of homeschooling for my daughter. In between filling out contracts and real estate paperwork I had found myself thinking and praying hard for a sick loved one. And all this while I was 6 months pregnant.
To get to this point today of sitting motionless on the couch I knew had not come easy. I had been less than thrilled during our homeschool lesson. I had been short with my children, and I’m pretty sure I had not been the friend and support system to my extended family that they deserved me to be. I had been an unpleasant person, stressed and uncomfortable.
And as I sat silently reading God’s word the verses above jumped out at me. He wanted me to lie down in green pastures. He desired to lead me beside quiet waters. He loved to refresh my soul. I felt like I had all these things I needed to do, but in reality I lacked nothing.
So often as women we have not just a full plate, but an overflowing plate! If we’re still we’re almost uncomfortable. If we’re not stressed out we feel like we haven’t accomplished anything, and I don’t know about you, but I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to that. I’m the first to say, “I haven’t done a thing today,” when in reality I have accomplished much.
But God would say, “you have done enough. You are enough.”
As women we often base our worth on how many tasks we can check off the list, and we feel good when we do a lot. But there’s more to life than staying busy and getting it all done. Sometimes the most important things in life are completed by not moving, but instead by being completely still.
We accomplish the most for our souls when we take a rest in His presence, sit at His feet, and allow Jesus to renew our spirit. When we let Him lead us to still waters and refresh our soul.
And the good news continues as we read the remainder of Psalm 23.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Verse 5)
Despite all the things that can and will go wrong in my day, or the people who try to come against me, the fact remains that He protects me and mine. Heck, He feeds me right in front of them. And He even feeds me to the point of abundant fullness. Now that’s a full plate I can handle!
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Verse 6)
Many times when you busy yourself with the everyday tasks of life you forget that you’re not alone. You feel stressed as if you carry this weight on your own narrow shoulders. I know I do. And that’s why it’s important to stop. Stop and listen to God’s truth.
His truth says we are never alone. It whispers, “my love follows you everywhere, in every trial and situation.” It cements the fact that we dwell with Jesus forever.
As I sat still on my couch I finally allowed the rest of myself to be still also. I quieted my worries, and I released my pent-up anxieties and stress to The Shepherd. And I allowed Him to comfort me just as He had intended all along.