Alyssa Sellers

Making Peace with Psalm 23



Where I grew up most, kids learned the 23rd Psalm. I think they had to in catechism. Where I grew up, all the school buses altered their routes to include a stop at the Catholic Church on Mondays for catechism classes. Because of where I grew up, I heard that Psalm recited as rote and therefore I didn’t much care for that Psalm. Also it talked about valleys of death and rods and staffs, and hearing that over and over and over again sorta creeped me out.

Where I live now, I do full time ministry through my church by encouraging and supporting university students and other transients of my downtown Portland neighborhood in a variety of ways. To do this work, I raise my own support. I sorta suck at this aspect, but that’s another story for another time. And now I have an agent for my book so I’m retooling my book proposal which means an enormous amount of research and writing and editing and feelings of inadequacy. Again, another story for another time. And I also have a life full of relationships with people not connected to anything mentioned above that I try to maintain. I guess you could say I’ve got some stuff going on.

I try to be diligent about maintaining a Sabbath. Because of what I do, it happens to be on a Wednesday. What I mean when I say ‘Sabbath’, is a day where I truly try to stop and rest and spend some time focusing on God, believing that my to-do list will get taken care of…eventually…in God’s perfect timing. Sometimes this involves a lot of deep breaths and verbal reminders that it WILL all be OK.

On one of those Sabbaths God reintroduced me to Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

The message and God haven’t changed, but I have. I now hear them more fully. I now know that life is better when I take a moment or a day to lie down, to be still, to let God’s truth, wisdom, love and life pour into me, to have my soul feel all shiny and new.

Today was the last Sunny honestly warm day Portland will see for a while. I spent most of it inside working. That was up until the last hour and a half of daylight when, due to a variety circumstances, including locking myself out of my apartment, the Lord herded me down to the green grass beside the quiet waters of Willamette River and, there, the Lord refreshed my soul.

Sometimes we just need to take a moment to pause, breathe and remember that it WILL all be OK.


2 thoughts on “Making Peace with Psalm 23

  1. Today I read all of your posts at once, in reverse order. Not the best way probably, but turning the clock back one post at a time was interesting. First thought: amazing photos! I like that you're now using your own. They are great. Second: your writing has gotten better and better over time(spelling, too). I can sense the next book coming together. Your life is an amazing journey with God, and I'm glad to be a part of it.


  2. Thanks, Mom! You're the best!!!


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