I am in the middle of a “Praying 40 Promises in 40 Days” challenge. I really needed to take this on as a project because my morning time with the Lord was lacking since going from part-time employment to full-time. At least that was the excuse I used. So, I made a commitment and I am here to tell you that I am so glad I did. It is amazing what just a short time in the morning with the Lord does for your day. It has helped me deal with the frustrations of learning a new job and it has helped me stay within my eating boundaries. I am also being reacquainted with some much loved Scripture verses.

My-Cup-Runneth-OverA recent promise was from Psalm 23:1. Don’t you just love the 23rd Psalm? I do. I think the 23rd Psalm is a favorite to many. It is probably the best known Psalm in the Bible for believers and even non-believers alike. It is the one that graces many funerals, and it is definitely a go to when we feel we are walking through a dark time. This is the Psalm many of us memorized as children and many of us can quote from heart (maybe not perfectly, but close enough).  Which are the stanzas that are the most powerful for you? We love thinking of lying down in green pastures and being led beside still waters. I get strength for my soul when I read that He leads me and that even in a dark valley, I need not fear evil for He is with me and His rod and staff comfort me. I really love the visual of my cup running over.  We love thinking about dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. Are you with me? What am I leaving out? Um…verse one. My journey in Thin Within/Hunger Within makes me believe that verse one is the most important. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Why do I gloss over this verse and go on to the others? Maybe I don’t really want to give up my wants? Maybe I am too comfortable in wanting what I don’t have? Maybe I am afraid to trust the Lord to give me what I think I need and want? Maybe I want to stay in control?

Jesus the Good ShepherdLook with me at the truth of these Holy Spirit inspired words. The first half of Psalm 23:1 talks about Jesus. He is my shepherd and your shepherd. A shepherd takes care of his flock. He feeds, cares and protects. A good shepherd would sometimes put himself in danger in order to go retrieve a lost sheep. This is a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus Christ and how He loves and cares for us, even unto death for all of us who were once lost. The first half of this verse tells me Jesus’ part.

I'll do it my way...The second half of Psalm 23:1 is my part. I shall not want. With Jesus as my Shepherd, all my needs are taken care of by Him. If I still feel that I am lacking, then I might not be letting Him be the Shepherd of my life at all. If I am wanting more than what He has already provided for me then maybe I am following the wrong shepherd. Maybe I am trying to lead myself? I am remembering Isaiah 53:6 that says, we all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way.

I don’t want to be this sheep anymore. I want Jesus to be my Shepherd. I don’t want to feel that I am lacking anything.  He has provided me with blessings beyond measure. I am ready to be led back into the pen. Doing it my own way is hard, and scary, and always leads me into trouble, and causes me to fall. My Hunger Within is telling me that I need my Savior who is like a Shepherd to lead me. So, Psalm 23:1b says,

“I shall not want…

What the world says is a perfect body

More food than my body needs

More exercise than what is moderate and healthy for me

A smaller size than the perfect one God has for me

The scraps off my family’s plates

To multi-task while eating

The goodies in the break-room just because they are there and everyone else is enjoying them because I am not hungry at the moment

To count points or calories or carbs

Dessert or seconds if I am no longer hungry

A snack just because I am watching TV or reading a book

a health issue that would force me to eat better (like that works in real life!)

Anything else that is not mine”

Lord Jesus, I am your sheep and I am prone to wander from Your care. I have wanted  to walk on my own path instead of following You.  Lord Jesus, I am so grateful that You were willing to go after me as I strayed and that You have brought me back into Your loving care. Lord, keep me close. I no longer want to do it my way! In Your name, I pray, Amen.

What about you? Are you ready to quit straying from the Shepherd that loves you to death? Will you join me in the sheep pen?