Almost spontaneously, I always end my morning prayer breathing the line, “The Lord is my shephard, I shall not want.” I sat for a while with it this morning, more conscious than I usually am of the fact that the line expresses the same sentiment that ends St. Ignatius’ Suscipe, which is also part of my daily prayer, and which ends with our affirming to God that “your love and grace is enough for me.”
Very simple line, yet a realization that makes all the difference in the world. With the Lord as my shepherd, with God’s love and grace, I already have everything I need.
Obviously that is not a statement about our material situation; it says nothing about how much money we have, what our skills are, or anything else about what we have. It doesn’t say we won’t face hardship. But it reminds us that all of those things are secondary. That they are part of how we live out our physical existence, but do not address our central being.
I have God’s love and grace and guidance. And I can relax into that reality. The reality that I shall not want…I do not want..I never will want for anything that I really need. Because I already have it all.
Of course, we don’t always (or even usually) live out of that reality. We think we really “need” so many things. And that perceived need – whether it be for some outside approval, some honor, some material item, or something else – makes us anxious, unhappy (and sometimes pretty unpleasant to be around).
Our priority needs to be coming to a deeper apprehension of the truth of that simple line: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
This one is a life-long pursuit and those who are blessed with this ability to give and accept love have much higher self-esteems than those who do not. For years I feel that I didn’t love and respect myself as a child of God. I had negative thoughts about myself and blamed others for some of the bad things I did as a result of not respecting myself or others. Fortuneately the Lord was there for me the whole time and helped me through this. I learned that it is o.k. not to be perfect and to love myself for all my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve learned that love is a choice. In fact, loving others doesn’t come naturally for me. I have to pray for this love every day and I feel that the more I pray to the Lord, the more He blesses me with the ability to love myself and others. To read a list of great scriptures on love and charity for yourself and others, click here .