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We are all seeking rest for our souls. Most of us, and I would say all of us, do not even know we are. We do not even know how wearied our souls are. We numb our souls with caffeine, a little wine at 5:00, TV, social media, and our ever-present smart phones. And just FYI, your soul is simply not designed to move at the speed of your smart phone.[i]
After our weekend with John Eldredge in Colorado Springs, I feel as though I have been born again, again. I am putting into practice practices that are protecting my soul. Last week we talked about the practice of rejecting the culture’s continuous distractions and diversions. We must learn to stiff-arm the assailing assault of the silly.
But that is preventative maintenance. We must first do some initial emptying out of the culture’s clutter that we have already, although unwittingly, allowed to stick in our souls.
The goal is to seek more of Jesus in more of us. [ii]
The Holy Spirit, through Peter, advises us to, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Peter, being a fisherman, uses the Greek word for ‘cast,’ meaning to throw a net away from a boat. What a splendid picture for us. Cast all those worries, the cares of this world, the junk you have allowed into your soul, the resentments and disappointments, out of your soul. Throw them out and away, as if you are throwing a net away from your boat.
We must release what has stuck inside us over the years. We must empty out so we can fill up with the love, joy, and peace of Jesus. We want to seek more of Jesus in more of us. C.S. Lewis said your soul is a vessel for God to fill. Well, if He is to fill it, we must be proactive in emptying out what we are already full of.
St. Augustine agrees with me (and my bad grammar):
We must empty ourselves of all that fills us so that we may be filled with what we are empty of.
But I want you to notice what Peter is telling us to do with what we are casting away. Cast all your anxiety … on him … onto Jesus. This is different from just casting away, from just emptying out, as if into thin air. If we try to just cast our anxieties out and away, they are likely to boomerang right back.
But if we cast them onto Jesus, onto his shoulders, and if we trust that we can do this because “he cares for you,” then our stuff will better stick with him, and not boomerang back to us.
When I cast all my cares onto Jesus, I am saying to him, “You must take this, Jesus. I cannot control this, and I cannot fix this. And I know my soul cannot carry this load. But I know you can, and I know you will.”
This will not happen the first time. You will have to cast away, and cast away, and cast away. Release, release, and release. It will take practice. But as we learn to trust him with our stuff, to trust that he can and is handling them, then it is as if Jesus dumps them into the deepest part of the ocean, and sticks a “No fishing” sign in that spot for us.
And then we are free to seek more of Jesus in more of us.
[i] John Eldredge, Get Your Life Back
[ii] John Eldredge, Get Your Life Back