Please enjoy this excerpt from my Book called Psalm 23 Unwrapped💕Available on Amazon!
We all need meaning, purpose, and the pursuit of a goal more significant than the self.
“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life” Victor Frankl
“The inner ache of the heart is to find meaning and purpose in life.” Ravi Zacharias
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis that is focused on the meaning of human existence as well as on man’s search for meaning. His work became popular and was publicized in his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, it illustrates the significance and universality of meaning as a motivating force in human life.
The need for meaning is a powerful and fundamental human need. We cannot thrive withoutsignificance and purpose; it gets us up out of bed in the morning. Nietzsche’s’ work outlines this, and his work is readily accepted among academics.
Nietzsche, however, did not hypothesize anything new. His thesis echoes the Biblical principles of significant meaning. The concept of significant meaning is an age-old need that is in-built in all of us. It’s worth noting here that if we are created in God’s image, and we need a love connection and significant meaning, then God needs that as well. This might be why he took to the task of creating and keeping in touch with his handiwork – how do you view this?
One thing is for sure in order to find a healthy way of life that is lasting, you must believe that you are valued and very much loved. The Shepherd values you and you are very much loved and wants you to be free to love yourself and others. Each of us is unique and made in God-image. Whether we realize it or not, we are connected to our Creator, to each other, and to all of creation, giving us joy, meaning, and purpose.
Each of us is incredibly special and loved by God, our lives have deep intrinsic value; therefore, we need to value and love ourselves. This means looking after ourselves and asking for help when needed. We hear so much about loving our neighbor, but how often do we hear about loving ourselves?
You are of immense value and a significant human being in time and history. Today is yours, you are created for a particular purpose, so go and find it. The real you, the true self, naturally strive toward this end.
Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong? What about one of those weeks, where every day is one big blur, and nothing seems to work out? You may look back over the last 12 months and just see disaster after disaster happening and all is totally out of your control? I think most of us can relate to one or two of these at least. How many people do you know who suffer from a restlessness that makes them so disconnected that they fall into depression, or just give up on life? Perhaps the death of a loved one has stripped the person of purpose and meaning, the grief being so overwhelming that they feel that they will never get over it? I know loads of people in this place, and I have helped them and in fact, I’ve been there a few times myself – and I am sure you have too- not a nice place to be! Or possibly you are unwell and facing your own impending death, and you don’t know what to think or which way to turn.
So, what can we do when things like this happen? How can we find joy and a realistic coping strategy to get us through rather than allowing it to defeat or destroy us? Contentment is a precious thing, but how can we find it in our darkest valley? Lots of people ask these questions and spend a lot of time and money looking for answers.
If you have loved much you will grieve much. Grieving is not bad, but for it to hang on for years is certainly not good either. As pointed out in my book, Nothing Good about Grief, bereavement can leave us with the feeling of utter emptiness. As human beings, we have a need to grieve because it is healthy to do so. We must understand that there will be a silver lining somewhere. Grief can be turned around self-discovery in the long run, even when we can’t imagine it at first. But this only happens if we are willing to learn, change, and learn the right attitude allowing bereavement to be turned around for our benefit. However, it is also true that there is a possibility that we can become trapped in our grief, not knowing how to let go of it.
This is book is designed to help you find solutions to work through the difficult times in your life. Psalm 23 Unwrapped shows God’s nature as Father in the image of the Good Shepherd. In the same way, as a good Father does, the Shepherd leads, provides, protects, and guides. Whatever your circumstances, this book offers ideas that will assist you to discover coping strategies while maintaining equilibrium. If you rely on the right conditions to make you happy, you will always be tossed about and will never experience inner calm and joy- even in the face of death. Psalm 23 Unwrapped, can be used as an enhancement to my book Nothing Good about Grief. The book you hold in your hands will help you to let go of the pain of your problems, resentment, grief, and the fear of death. Using Psalm 23 as a template – which is also known as the Psalm of David – this book guides you in your journey through your troubled times, to find meaning, purpose, and peace.
The experience of loss, mainly if it is sudden, can bring about the reaction of immense psychological shock. This traumatizes us psychologically. Some people think the effects of grief are purely psychological things and have nothing to do with our physicality. However, recent research shows that our psychological health has a direct bearing on our physical health. This is why I approach my work holistically. It is my aim to minister to the whole person, body, mind, and soul. Our spiritual life cannot be separated from our everyday existence and adjusting to a daily rhythm to fulfill your basic human needs is the first step to getting a handle on the feeling of fear, panic, and uncertainty. It is a step to curing the virus of anxiety and panic. It helps us to see life, health, death, and spirituality differently, even amid your difficulties. When we have re-connected to the sense of the present while trusting in God, we will find peace – the peace we lost in all that stress – is closer to us, deeper within us, than we had ever imagined.
Psalm 23 Unwrapped, offers strategies to cope with your journey through the dark valley. I have chosen the study of Psalm 23 because it shows the Lord as our Good Shepherd, our protector, our daily provider, our peace and rest, and our guide through every circumstance in life or death. God’s faithfulness leads us through dark valleys while watching over us with his rod and staff. All of that is amazing enough to prompt us to praise him, but we may wonder what happens after we pass through the valley? What does the Lord do then? How do you maintain your joy and happiness?
Studying God as Shepherd helps us with these and other questions. For instance, Jehovah-Raah, which means The Lord, my Shepherd. A shepherd is a role description, not a name of a person. Jehovah is not a name either. Translated as The Existing One or Lord. So again, it describes who God is. Also, it suggests becoming or specifically becoming known. This implies that God always discloses who he is. God reveals himself in the metaphor, or even in the image of a shepherd. A shepherd is the one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Ezekiel 34:11-15). An extended translation is a friend or companion. This indicates the intimacy that God desires between himself and his people.
Untangling the nature of God reveals to us that God is our friend, guide, companion, and the ever-existing One. The One who loves and cares for his sheep. The Shepherd guides us on our journey. The loving One who just doesn’t point us the way but walks with us through the darkness.
We can view our life’s experience as a spiritual journey beginning and ending in mystery, full of inexplicable pain and joy, yet full of wonder. In the end, it is faith, hope, and love that frees us from any kind of fear. However, we are exposed to our real predicament: not having a spiritual path in times like this. We may lack even a trace of meaning, not seeing the bright spark of life hidden in the darkness of our anguish or in our demise. All these are symptoms of another virus rampant in our materialism and delusion. I hope that this book shows the way out of that delusion. Faith in Christ Jesus is good news because it is the remedy that overcomes the hopelessness of grief and the fear of death and dying, and what is beyond.
In this book, we Unwrap Psalm 23 verse by verse to guide us in this journey. I invite you to travel with me – the adventure awaits……….
When I walked the Camino in Northern Spain, I knew how important the yellow signposts were to stay on the trail, especially in the remote and rugged terrain or new areas of exploration I experienced. These markers kept me safe and focused on the experience, without fear of getting lost and potentially spending hours or days in a detour. Many people die on the Camino each year-why? Because they fail to follow the signposts, go off track and end up over a mountain cliff somewhere.
Likewise, on the spiritual journey, there are signposts that mark stages in the journey, stages that usually correspond to certain spiritual, emotional, and psychological experiences.
It is helpful to know about these stages and be supported at each one, especially because it is common to wonder if we’re on the right track or not. We might even think we are going crazy, or getting worse, or feel like abandoning the whole thing. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to study the bible regularly, we see the actions and outcomes of the bible characters and we see how God deals with them, why, and what the outcomes will be.
I love Joseph. This is a great story to use as a guide to understanding what the signpost of your life is. Joseph was an innocent and somewhat naïve guy, but everything just always went wrong for him. Trouble seemed to find him and even follow him. But in the end, God raised him up as a mighty leader- why? Because he kept the faith and understood the signposts God had placed in his life and followed them.
These characters intentionally consented to God’s presence and God’s action in their life. If you do the same, you will see God’s provision and will work out as they did. Enjoy reading those stories and others and glean all the truth you can and live-in faith, joy, and peace, in our savior’s name- Jesus Christ.
WHO WAS JOSEPH?
Joseph was born in the Mesopotamian town of Haran, to his parents Jacob and Rachel. At the age of six, he left Haran along with his family and journeyed to the land of Canaan, eventually settling in Hebron.
Joseph was one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a son of Jacob and his wife Rachel. Joseph was known as “the righteous one,” he was highly favoured by his father because he came from his favorite wife who bore him in his father’s old age. Jacob gave him a special-coloured coat to show his love for his son. This triggered feelings of jealousy within his brothers, especially the sons of Jacob’s other wife, Leah. There was a lot of competition between Rachel and Leah who were sisters, to how many sons they could give their Husband Jacob. This may have prompted the jealousy that Leah’s children felt toward their half-brother Joseph.
These ill feelings make worse when Joseph told them two of his dreams, in which he described he is ruling over his brothers. In the first dream, the brothers were gathering wheat in the field, and the brothers’ bundles bowed to Joseph’s bundle. In the second, Joseph envisioned the sun, the moon, and eleven stars which symbolized his parents and brothers bowing to him, is it any wonder that his 11 brothers became jealous!
When Joseph was seventeen, the conflict within the family came to a head
Then One day, the 11 brothers were tending their sheep in Shechem, and Jacob told Joseph to visit them. Jacob was totally unaware that Joseph would be on the disappeared list because this would be the last time he would see his dearest son, until their reunion some twenty-two years later.
When Joseph arrived in Shechem, the brothers grabbing their chance threw the unsuspecting Joseph into a pit. A short while later they spotted an Arab caravan passing, so the brothers agreed to sell Joseph to the merchants. Eventually, he was taken to Egypt, where he was sold to Potiphar, one of King Pharaoh’s ministers.
LIFE GOES SOUR
For a while, things looked pretty good for young Joseph. God gave him favour which enabled him to in in the good books of his jailer, and eventually, he was appointed head of Potiphar’s estate. However, this would not last for very long.
Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and desired to be intimate with him. However, to her bewilderment, Joseph constantly refused her invitation. Then one day, when no one was home, Potiphar’s wife grabbed Joseph’s garment, demanding that he consent to have sex with her. Thinking quickly, Joseph slid out of his cloak and ran outside. Although Potiphar’s wife was insulted, this self-control earned him the nickname, “Joseph the righteous.”
But Potiphar’s wife in her embarrassment, took revenge upon Joseph, telling her husband that it was Joseph who had tried to entice her. Potiphar was mortified and reacted in anger by placing his once dependable assistant in prison.
BACK in PRISON
Joseph being a highly honest and competent man, his jailer soon chose him as his right-hand man. In time, his good character went in his favour once again, when Joseph effectively interpreted their dreams, accurately predicting that the cupbearer would be released and the baker, hanged.
Two years later, King Pharaoh had two dreams, and none of his priests were able to interpret them. Then the cupbearer remembered the Hebrew youth from his prison days, suggested that Joseph could give an interpretation to Pharos dreams. By this time, Joseph was now thirty and was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams as being a divine warning for seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to prepare by storing grain during the first seven years. Amazed by Joseph’s wisdom, Pharaoh appointed him as his viceroy, second only to himself, and tasked him with equipping the nation for the years of famine.
Meanwhile, the effects devasted nearby Canaan where Joseph’s family lived. Joseph’s brothers heard that there was grain in Egypt, so they went there to buy needed food from the viceroy, not realizing that he was their very own brother.
Joseph upon recognizing his brothers decided to use this opportunity to observe whether they truly regretted having sold him, and used the youngest son Benjamín as the bait. On several occasions, Joseph tested his brothers’ resolve to save their youngest brother Benjamin—Joseph’s only maternal brother—from the plot he set up for him. Once he saw their devotion toward Benjamin, Joseph finally revealed his identity to his shocked siblings.
THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Following a sincere reunion, Jacob and his family settled in the Goshen section of Egypt. This series of events teaches us the proper attitude toward difficulty and misfortune. Upon discovering Joseph’s identity, his brothers thought he would use his royal powers to take revenge against them for selling into slavery.
However, the sentiments expressed by Joseph were quite the opposite, he said-“But now do not be sad, and let it not trouble you that you sold me here, for it was to preserve life that God sent me before you… You did not send me here, but God.”
Should we adopt this attitude as well?
.Have you had a Joseph experience? If so, how did you deal with it?
Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below.
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🖤🖤🖤ABOUT Me👱♀ My name is Paula Rose Parish, I have a Master of Arts in Counselling & Coaching. I am an indie author- publishing since 2021. I am also a Minister & Speaker. I’m a life member of (ISFP) The International Society of Female Professionals.