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, 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 a 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” (Psalm 23:2–3 NIV).
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.
Story by Grace P. Cho, as published in Courageous Simplicity
The beauty of Psalm 23, depicting our Great Shepherd, is that it is also a portal to understanding who Jesus is as Shepherd, King, and Ruler. Jesus — Immanuel, God with us — is also the great I Am.
It makes sense that if Yahweh is our shepherd and will provide everything we need, then when He tells us that we can trust Him to take over our burdens, to exchange them for His way, we can trust that He has our best in mind.
By trusting the Good Shepherd, we can experience the radical simplicity of peace and contentment and courage. As the apostle Peter encourages us, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).
Reflect on this prayer and make it your own today:
God, I admit I’ve all too often allowed the familiar to become unfamiliar. I’ve allowed the power of Scripture to become mundane in my life. No wonder I struggle to find the peace and simple life You have for me! Give me the courage and strength to let go of what I need to so that I can embrace what You have for me. Amen.
Excerpt from Courageous Simplicity: Abide in the Simple Abundance of Jesus
This week we kicked off our latest Online Bible Study, going through Courageous Simplicity: Abide in the Simple Abundance of Jesus with hundreds of women around the country! And friend, it just won’t be the same without you. Sign up and join us — it’s certainly not too late! In fact, we think you’re right on time. Joining is super simple (see what we did there?):
- Register for the Online Bible Study.
- Get your copy of Courageous Simplicity.
- Check your email for details + an invite to our private Facebook group.
Let’s go, sisters! Let’s journey towards a life of courageous simplicity — together.Leave a Comment