“He Makes Me Lie Down”

HeMakesMeLieDownPsalm 23 has come up in various places in my life lately… you know how God does that? Sometimes He brings something to your face in various ways all at roughly the same time.

Quick story:

Last week, we thought we’d found a potential house for our family. It was an old church that had been converted to a daycare. It had the good bones of the old church, but some of the daycare decor that would actually work for our family (like a huge wall grid for sorting laundry & stashing games in the laundry room right off of the family room). It would have been majorly cool. And a great size for our family. With some acreage (and a view of the Columbia RIVER–ACK!). But it didn’t work out. The more we looked at it, the more obvious it was that the potential cost for renovation was too close to the line for us to take the plunge.

That afternoon, I told my nearly-8-year-old daughter that it was a good day for a nap. But the protests were fierce. “I don’t NEED one! I don’t want a nap! I’m not a baby. I’m not even tired.” On and on they went.

But I know my daughter.

All the signs were there, and we’d been ultra-busy & up later than usual the previous few nights. So I insisted. I told her to trust her mama who knows what she needs. In not much time at all, she was asleep. And even with a mid-nap interruption that woke her up, she took over a two-hour nap.

She CLEARLY needed the rest.

It made me think of the house and the decision not to buy it. Perhaps God is keeping me from taking on more than I can handle. He is making me lie down and rest and not buy that house (and all the associated energy-sucking work that would come with it). 

God knows what I need better than I do. He is my Father who knows me better than I know myself.

He knows when I need rest. He knows when I would take on more than I should. He also (conversely) knows when I can do more than I am.

He knows me. I can trust Him. 

Though I would take on more than I should…
Though I would lie to myself and say “I can do it”…
Though I might kick and scream and say, “I don’t need to rest!”
Though I might be convinced, “God built me strong” (which… yes, I used to say)

He knows me better than I know myself. He is my Shepherd, and He faithfully, lovingly cares for my soul with a long-term view for His GLORY and my GOOD.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

(from Psalm 23)

The Psalmist said, “He makes me lie down…” And sometimes, that’s exactly what He does. I don’t know if I’m moving into a season of more rest, and less running around. But sometimes our Shepherd makes us lie down, even at times when we would choose to be “up” and “doing.”

But I know this: if He makes me lie down, it will be for my good and for His glory. 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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10 Responses

  1. Kendra says:

    How true. This reminded me of my various seasons of selling/looking for a home and how obsessed and then disappointed I could get with my ideas of what i wanted. And every time a better option was finally revealed in the proper time. Funny how that was the easiest stage to look back and see this “making me lie down in green pastures” of God’s.

    • Jess Connell says:

      It is so hard to go through those ups and downs (we had another “up” yesterday, and a huge “down” today). It definitely is roller-coaster-y. But I know- just like you said– the right option will be revealed at the proper time.

  2. Bethany says:

    I get it. :) That whole “be still” thing has been hitting me from all directions lately.

  3. Laura says:

    “Psalm 23 has come up in various places in my life lately… you know how God does that? Sometimes He brings something to your face in various ways all at roughly the same time.” — Yes, indeed. His faithfulness in getting us to hear what we need to hear is astounding to me. I’m ever so thankful that He knows me better than I know myself and His tender care in making sure I rest in Him!

  4. Kate P. says:

    Psalm 23 has been coming up in several places for me as well; my daughter’s homeschool curriculum, youth group (I volunteer), radio messages, and now here! Yes Lord, I am listening!

    Thank you Jess, for your insight. It is so calming to be able to trust that our Good Shepherd only leads us to the places that are the best, whether we can see that at the moment or not. I am preparing to read the book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” by W. Phillip Keller. From the excerpts I have read, it sounds like an insighful read.

  5. I am hugely disappointed that you didn’t get the old church. BUT … God has something better. And, like you, I’ve been “being still” for years and waiting for His best. Don’t grow weary, friend. And I promise to do the same.

  6. Charisa says:

    Ah, so true. My daughter is memorizing Psalm 23 right now, and so I am continually being reminded of this truth. My husband and I are in a season of waiting to hear about a job he’s applied for, and we keep being reminded to trust, and wait. And resting goes hand-in-hand with waiting. I would rather be making all sorts of detailed plans, lists, figuring out logistics, getting ready for a move, but instead I am waiting. And learning to rest, instead of stress about all the details I can’t yet figure out. Thanks for a timely reminder!

  7. Jess Connell says:

    Charisa, your comment “learning to rest” made me think of an old favorite song by Waterdeep:

    “LEARNING TO REST”

    I came around the corner
    of the outer edge of town
    You were standing in the center
    There were people gathered all around

    I thought I’d never get through this crowd
    My heart went kind of numb
    But You smiled when You saw me
    and You beckoned me to come

    So I struggled through the pressing mass
    I had a thousand things to say
    But I was sure Your ears were flooded
    And there was just too much in the way

    CHORUS:
    But then You said to me
    “Come away by yourself to a lonely place for a while
    Well, I’m sure you’re tired
    You know, I cannot even see your smile
    There’s just too many people here
    Why don’t you come and be with me”
    Then you took my hand
    And we headed out for the sea

    I got home late this morning
    You’ve been gone since the other day
    They took You to the tomb
    but I guess we all go there someday

    I came out here to get away
    to get some time to think
    Cause nothing’s making sense right now
    I feel like I’m on the brink

    Then on the distant shore
    I hear some strong voice say
    “That side is yielding nothing
    Cast your nets the other way”
    And It was You

    CHORUS:
    Then You said to me,
    “Come away by yourself to a lonely place for a while
    Well, I’m sure you’re tired
    You know, I cannot even see your smile
    There’s just too much confusion here
    Why don’t you come and be with me”
    I asked You where are we going
    You simply told me that I’d be free

    BRIDGE:
    You know things get hard
    and the world’s not stopping for me
    But I know now what to do,
    and I know where I need to be
    cause You said to me…

    “Come away by yourself to a lonely place for a while
    I’m sure you’re tired
    You know, I cannot even see your smile
    There’s just too many people here
    Why don’t you come and be with me”
    Then you took my hand
    And we headed out for the sea

    ___________________________

    LOVE that song. Good reminder, amidst burnout and exhaustion and stress, to get away with the Lord.

  8. Erin says:

    Due to my health I need to take naps most days and it frustrates me so much! I hate the time I need to take each day to lie down and spend some time doing ‘nothing’ – but it really is refreshing my body so I can function for the rest of the day.
    I often wish I didn’t need to do this, but God has shown me that it’s ok. And I see that in my whole life as well, there have been periods when I’ve had to rest for a few months and then I am able to get more busy in other times. and trusting God knows me better than myself and accepting what he brings or takes away as the weeks move along.

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