The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me by peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley. I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:1-6
Today is my 23rd birthday. Psalm 23 feels extra fitting for me in these days, not to mention it’s also my new age. I fully acknowledge 23 sounds “sooooo young!!!” to some of you. *gasp!* One day I’ll be laughing about that too. But I often wonder how I got here so fast! In this very moment, I have never been this old and I will never be this young ever again. No matter your age, I’m sure you can relate to this crazy paradox.
Birthdays feel like the start of a new year for me with renewed perspective for another year older. Over the past few weeks leading up to this day, I have been sitting with Psalm 23 and letting these words plant seeds for my 23rd year. When I wake up, when I workout, when I drive across state lines, when I create new products, when I catch up with a friend, when I spend time with my family, when I make decisions, when I walk into new opportunities or change – I remember these verses.
The Lord is my shepherd. What is a shepherd? I can’t say I know any real life shepherds. I don’t see them at the grocery store or run into them at the gym. Most of my friends are teachers, nurses, or business gals. So I did a little research. Handy dandy Google says a shepherd is a noun and a verb. How cool is that? (Grammar nerd over here is geeking out!) Shepherd is a being and a doing. Just as a teacher teaches, a shepherd shepherds. They care for flocks and guide them in a certain direction.
The Lord is my shepherd. So what does that mean for us? We might not be the kind of sheep that live in herds and baaaaaa all day long, but we sure can wander like sheep and we are in desperate need for protection and provision.
The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me all I need: rest, strength renewal, closeness, guidance, protection, comfort, goodness, love. In all times and seasons and ages today and to come, He leads me. Along peaceful streams and even valleys, His provision is constant, sure, and true to His character. My deepest joy comes from God alone; the source of life only He can fulfill. Circumstances and wandering aside, He is my guiding and providing Shepherd, full of grace and mercy.
So I’m walking into year 23 Psalm 23 style – in full pursuit of my Shepherd as He relentlessly shepherds me. He is guiding me along right paths to honor His name. Even if I can’t quite see the entire path, I can walk without fear because He has His way of bringing me back over and over again. He left 99 sheep to bring the missing 1 home, so He will certainly keep on coming for me. And you too friend, no matter where you are. Our Shepherd is not outrun by 2 wandering legs. He is not restrained by wandering hearts and humanness. Actually, He still uses us in light of our humanness to share the light of His word!
This is my Psalm and my song for 23. Not a baaaaad deal for a sheep like me! (Pun very much intended). What more could I ask for?