He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. – Psalm 23:2–3 NIV
Both my husband and I love to hike mountain trails, and there were plenty in the Great Smoky Mountains, where we spent our vacation this year. I estimate I walked about 17 miles. Dean more because after the 5½-mile hike on Tuesday, which included one mile up a mountain and one mile down, I needed a day of rest. So Wednesday I stayed at the campground while Dean went on a solo hike. (Which I suspect he enjoyed immensely because I wasn’t dragging along, slowing him down—but he’s too much of a gentleman to admit it.)
We had a wonderful vacation, with plenty of mountain streams rippling over rocks and gushing down waterfalls—and flowing behind our campsite. Moving water, remember, creates negative ions that help to energize you and counteract the effect of fatigue-causing positive ions created by modern life. I wish I would have taken a day just to sit by the creek and read. But instead I hiked more than I was in condition to hike and on my one day “off” did laundry and cleaned the camper.
“He leads me beside streams of water,” the psalmist wrote. “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2–3).
He can lead us to a place of rest and restoration, but it’s our decision whether or not to stop for a while. Sometimes all we do is pause, take in the scene, and move on.
Why do we think we need to accomplish so much? I don’t know about you, but I put more on my to-do list than I can actually accomplish in one day—or one week. “Why do I expect so much of myself?” I muttered as I put one hiking boot in front of the other. If I’m not careful, my Shepherd will make me lie down in that green pasture beside the gurgling brook (verse 2).
Pacing myself is the answer, and the best way to do that is to follow Jesus’ example. He had but one item on His to do-list: serve His heavenly Father. He was busy, yes, but He took time out to hike up a mountain or slip off to a quiet garden to spend time with God before the crowds showed up.
In my rush to get everything done on a to-do list I alone compile, I find myself skipping time beside that quiet stream. I need to put pack into my schedule time to pray deeply and to give the Scriptures I read time to soak into my spirit. I didn’t even slow down when we were on vacation.
What about you? Do you let Him lead you beside quiet waters so He can restore your soul? No? Well, maybe it’s time to camp by the creek for a while.
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me once again of how much I need to rest beside the quiet waters and let You restore my soul. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 23