How does your autobiographical psalm read? Does it follow the pattern of David who said, "The LORD is my Shepherd," or does it read, "I am my shepherd?" Who leads? Where are you being led? If we are self-shepherding then where we lead ourselves and how we lead ourselves come from or own untrustworthy resources. We are so misguided by ourselves when we believe we are the only people we can trust. Is this your psalm? ...
I am my own shepherd;
I believe I need nothing.
I make myself to rest in convenient places;
I choose what I think are peaceful waters.
I feed my uneasy soul with ease.
I lead myself down many paths for my own protection
For the sake of my own name.
Yea, as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I distrust everyone; For none go with me.
My own strength and ability is all that can comfort me.
I prepare all my own tables, I invite no enemies.
Their presence discourages me.
I fill my own cup and fight to keep it half full.
Surely my own power and ingenuity shall follow me
All the days that it can,
As I dwell in the rat race of earth ... forever.
Sadly, this is the psalm of many Christians. They never quite hand over the authority to Shepherd their lives to Jesus. He is the only One who can be trusted with our lives. The benefits of Jesus are never truly realized until we allow His hand to form the clay ... His voice to dictate our thoughts ... His map to show the way ... His plan to become our plan ... His perspective to reign over ours ... etc. etc. etc.
He's called the Good Shepherd for a reason.
His Pastures are places of trust and provision based on His knowledge of our true need. Our skewed version of our own need makes it impossible to be self-shepherding. Now, read the Psalm of God's choosing for your life, and, by your own choice, adopt it for yours.
Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
(1) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
(2) He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
(3) He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.
(4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
(5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
(6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.
Brett Heintzman is passionate about the spiritual formation of God's people. These writings are designed to draw us close to God and to help us live out of the riches of His presence. It's all about being in the world but not of the world.