Words of Hope: Psalm 23

Dad and I often talked about life balance. Dad was a juggernaut of energy when he was younger. He was a make it happen person. But as he developed cancer, his ability to power through became harder. One of Dad and my key mentors told us that our basic structure for living was achieved through pressure and effort. Those who operate at the stress and effort level have the motto, “work harder.” The attractive part of stress and effort is the feeling we are needed, important, and productive. On the flip side, when we can’t push hard, we feel untethered. We meander through our day attempting to be productive but find our busyness has an emptiness and a hollow ring of futility. Dad had to learn to let go of the life of stress and effort and instead find true comfort in contentment. He called it his Psalm 23 life. 

Dad had to reimagine his worth as priceless and not connected to performance. I watched him wrestle relearning to value life from a lens of abundance. He saw me running down the same road of worry and pressure. Do more, be more, achieve more. He often counseled me to sit on the couch by him without anxiety. We would close our eyes and work on breathing in peace and breathing out fear. Then he would say repeat after me, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” We would picture the imagery of Psalm 23 together, learning to live life from a place of peace.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23