The first day of October is here. It is a beautiful fall day, and I am surrounded by quiet and time to type. As I thought about posting, and what I might share today, I randomly recalled the title of that classic book that dates back to the mid 90’s…”Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Now there are MANY additional Chicken Soup books…on marriage, on faith, for children, for teens. Out of curiosity I visited their website and read the history about the books, wondering how the title came to be in the first place. One of the founders pictured his grandmother’s chicken soup, and how she claimed it would cure anything. Like that, the founders believed their compilation of 101 inspirational stories would offer a healing touch to those who would read them. Not for physical ailments, but for their souls.
This came to mind after I made homemade chicken noodle soup last night. After not feeling exceptionally well in recent days, I couldn’t get the idea of chicken noodle soup off the brain. A steaming bowl would hit the spot, bring warmth, comfort, and nutrients my body could use.
Interestingly, the same thought came to mind again today…but not about soup this time, but about scripture, prayer, and my relationship with the Shepherd, who brings true and lasting restoration to my soul.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Part of soul restoration is submission. I have to submit to the leading of my Shepherd and trust that HE will guide me to green pastures, to still waters, and through the dark places. He calls for me to come back to him, in whom I find restoration, redemption, and peace that I can’t know otherwise. It’s not a self-taught or self-led peace. It is a peace found when I lie down beside the still waters that only the Shepherd knows of.
I saw a phrase once that I liked. “Practice peace.” I even jotted it down on a sticky note at my counseling office. How many times do we easily practice fear, practice anxiety, practice anger, practice violence, practice doubt. I have realized, however, that I can’t even practice peace unless I follow and yield to the Good Shepherd’s guidance. He is no ordinary shepherd. He is THE Shepherd, and the only one under whom the sheep are safe. He is the cure to all our ailments of the soul.
So today I welcome the restoring embrace of my Shepherd. As I slurp on the steaming goodness of my chicken noodle soup in days to come, I will think about the One who brings true revitalization to my life.