I’m reading through the psalms again. Again! Funny how the Bible’s prayer book keeps reverting to mundane words on a page as I hurry my way through this spiritual discipline with other tasks taking up space in my brain.
Some days, however, the words and the Spirit find their mark, and I really do find myself praying along with the psalmist. I certainly wasn’t looking for that miracle of connection to happen with Psalm 23–the one I’ve stopped hearing, the one about which I’ve told my husband, “Under no circumstances is this psalm to be read at or anywhere near my funeral.”
Beside Waters of Rest
The Good Shepherd and I have had a fair number of conversations about my need to “lie down in green pastures.” Somehow this can be the most challenging of all spiritual disciplines. The green pasture of prayer and worship requires a level of focused attention that doesn’t come easily to “do-ers”–or maybe to anyone in this age of continuous distraction and noise.
In my latest reading, though, it was a footnote from the ESV that stopped me in my tracks. Apparently, “beside waters of rest” is an alternative translation to the phrase “beside still waters.” Somehow hearing this word picture with different imagery made all the difference in my understanding and receiving it.
God never intended for my life to feel like the rapids on the Kennebec River!
Even in December with Christmas preparations tempting me to life on the rapids, when I am being led by the Good Shepherd, I can live at a restful pace. I can walk in peace, a fruit of the Spirit — a gift and not something I have to manufacture by myself.
God never intended for my life to feel like the rapids on the Kennebec River! Even in December with Christmas preparations tempting me to life on the rapids, when I am being led by the Good Shepherd, I can live at a restful pace.Tweet
So, what does this mean?
- Because God leads you beside waters of rest, rest is not a sign of failure or laziness. It is not irresponsible or even optional if we are serious about respecting the bodies God assigned to us.
Over the past several years, rest has become the most intensely regulated aspect of long-haul trucking. Shady businesses may try to shave off the number of continuous driving hours and fudge their records to eat up the miles and increase their profits, but lack of rest has been shown to be the leading cause of accidents on the road.
Collateral damage from lack of rest impacts anyone who is near. Innocent motorists, pedestrians, and property owners all stand to lose if an unrested trucker falls asleep at the wheel.
Can you point to any “collateral damage” in your home and family that has come because you were not walking beside waters of rest at the pace of the Good Shepherd?
- Because God leads you beside waters of rest, you are free. God invented Sabbath for his people, a formerly enslaved race. Once they were freed, they were required to rest! The One who directed their steps was also the Source of living water and the Provider of bread in abundance.
Life in 2022 has taught us to resort to adrenalin and caffeine when rest seems impractical. We are slaves to phone notifications, and we are addicted to information, but the truth is that constant accessibility does not contribute to the care and nurture of our souls.
A more healthful alternative is to trust the God who never sleeps. Jesus invites us to walk with him and work with him, to learn his “unforced rhythms of grace.”
It’s not too late to start over in this Advent season. By grace, we can reset our pace to walk with the God who leads us beside waters of rest.
Holding you in the Light,
Life in 2022 has taught us to resort to adrenalin and caffeine when #rest seems impractical. We are slaves to phone notifications, but constant accessibility does not contribute to the care and nurture of our souls.Tweet
A Dose of Truth for Your Advent Season
This is your invitation to join me and my newsletter subscribers in memorizing and meditating on Isaiah 9:6 during the Advent season. Obviously, all you really need in order to do this is a Bible and the willingness to put in the work. However, if you’re interested in some help and encouragement, I’ve created a PDF for you that includes printable resources including:
- The text of Isaiah 9:6 as pictured above
- First letters of the verse to push you along in your memory work (Have you ever tried this method? It really helps me!) The first letter of each word triggers your brain to say the right word without actually giving you the word in print.
- A Meditation Guide for each name of Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Each little card invites you to think about the Name in terms of who Jesus promises to be for you and what he wants to do in your life.
If this sounds helpful to you, get your copy by simply entering your email and then clicking on the button below…
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and an affiliate of The Joyful Life Magazine, two advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash
15 thoughts on “Reset Your Pace to Walk with the God Who Leads You Beside Waters of Rest”
I like that alternate translation of “waters of rest”! And as a fellow Mainer I totally get your imagery of the Kennebec River NOT being a water of rest. Instead the Kennebec is a picture of the turmoil of many of our lives today, but I’m working on finding that water of rest! May you find it, too!
My kids love rafting (and I think I remember that the Penobscot is even “worse” than the Kennebec?), but it’s recreational. When white water becomes a lifestyle, I think we’re in trouble, so I’m with you in working at the practice of resting.
As I age out I find that rest takes on a whole new perspective. I rest way more now than I used to and surprisingly enough it’s okay. 🙂 Amazing how time gently alters how we define the things that matter.
I would like to share a Youtube vid that my niece sent to me this morning.
Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family.
Just back from watching the Wexford carol. Ahhhhh…
One of my favorites and can only be improved by the cello.
Thanks for gifting that pause for my morning!
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Psalm 23 is probably the number one Psalm that will never leave me alone. 🙂 I keep finding my head and heart return to it again and again, word by word, leading me to green pastures again and again. I’ve loved your reflections this year on REST, such a difficult thing for most of us, when God intended it as such a gift.
Ironically, I just taught a session on Israel’s sabbath rest in the wilderness. A great way to wrap up the year with my word—and to remind myself…
Rest is a multifaceted WOTY, Michele, and it sounds like you have explored its meaning during 2022. I enjoy listening to different Audio Bible versions as it keeps the Bible fresh and alive.
I’m discovering audio to supplement my scripture reading as well.
Good to hear from you!
Michele, I’m still smiling about your declaration that Psalm 23 is not to be anywhere near your funeral. I’ve enjoyed watching you progress through this journey of rest this year. God is good to lead us where we need to go, isn’t He? (Whether that’s beside waters of rest or places more turbulent at times.)
I guess I’m just remembering so many funerals where Psalm 23 was misused. Writing this post has helped me to reconnect with it.
I’m thankful for our small group!
Such a good post, Michele! I’m a doer, too, and it’s hard to stop and rest. Even when I do I am reading something, or writing, or working in my art journal…… What I need is the true rest that God gives beside those still waters. May He help us to find that rest we so desperately need. Blessings and hugs to you, Michele! xo
It’s definitely a spiritual discipline, and God will always enable what he requires. May we BOTH take his grace and cooperate with the Spirit!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love that when a footnote or different translation sheds new light on an old, familiar passage. I love that God built rest into our lives. I find it very hard to be nice to people, even my dearests, when I am not rested.
And I really needed something to spark my appreciation for that well-known, well-loved, but often abused chapter.
It’s true! Our nearest and dearest pay the price when we neglect our need for rest!
LikeLiked by 1 person