The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23 NIV
I sit on the edge of my bed, staring blankly at the dresser—no, through the dresser. My eyes are glazed over; I’m not really looking at anything. My shoulders sag, and my whole body feels as though I’m a wilting plant in need of sun and water.
I’ve been saying yes to all the things that I can’t say no to — family obligations, mommy duties, household upkeep, and work deadlines. And then there are the yeses I say for my own well-being — therapy, life-giving friendships, time alone, church, mentoring. Throw in a celebration for someone’s birthday, a coffee date with a friend I haven’t seen in a while, or a visiting family member, and the calendar seems to explode at the seams, with no wiggle room even to breathe.
And running in the back of my mind is the low-humming anxiety that I’ll drop the ball somewhere and won’t realize it until it’s too late. I can almost sense failure lurking around the corner, waiting for that ball to drop.
I close my eyes and take some deep breaths. The slow, deliberate breathing wills my body and mind to settle down. I want to curl up like a baby and be carried away to somewhere quiet so I can rest, and closing my eyes, I imagine God doing this for me. I don’t have to hold or control everything so tightly when I’m held in His arms. I can relax. I can truly rest.
I lie on my bed, where I hold my palms open to my sides and close my eyes again. By habit, these verses come to mind — the words embedded into the deepest parts of me since my childhood days of memorizing Bible verses for Sunday school: “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul” (Ps. 23:2–3).
Imagining the water, the green, it feels like the space I’m in expands. I don’t have to be controlled by my to-do list. I don’t have to do all the things or meet with all the people, even if all those things would have been good or beneficial for me.
I still need to do the things I need to do, but I look at the calendar with fresh eyes. I cancel meetings where I can. I choose only the absolutely necessary things to get done for the week. I talk with my husband about all the responsibilities I carry, and we hash out how we can better share the mental and physical loads.
In small but decisive ways, I simplify my life. And more than that, I find rest for my soul in the sliver of the day where I pause to breathe, to imagine, and to say yes to God’s invitation to come and receive His rest.
Devotion by Grace P. Cho as published in Courageous Simplicity: Abide in the Simple Abundance of Jesus
By trusting the Good Shepherd, we can experience the radical simplicity of peace, contentment, and courage. As the apostle Peter encourages us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:7 NLT). Get a free week and learn more about the Courageous Simplicity Bible study!
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