Let it fall behind me


“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14:33

This is not the kind of journey where you bring your most treasured possessions along. This is the kind where you look at them long and hard and decide, “I don’t treasure these anymore…I treasure the One I follow.”

I can spend my whole life in a hobbit hole making sure the doilies are straightened, the shelves are dusted, and the pantry is in order; loving and pouring my life into stuff. Or, I can fling open the door and race down the path after You, knowing that I may never see what seemed so important again, and as I let it fall behind me, exclaim,

“I’m going on an adventure!”


Help nothing that I have grow in my affection to where it has my heart. Not my job, not my savings, not my plans, not my relationships, not my reputation, not my pleasures.

Help me to weed away misplaced dependence. Affection is fine, but it has a darker twin that slips into its stead: need. Where appreciation becomes demand. Where ‘I’m delighted to have this!’ becomes ‘I HAVE to have it!’

Guard my heart from these subtle shifts and teach it to worship You alone.

Thank you for bringing me this far. Thank you that I can look ahead, with clear eyes and steady breaths, knowing that whatever is out there, You will walk through it with me. So help me learn to cling to You, steady, fearless One, not to things which can so easily be lost.

Do not trouble the Teacher

dark cave light

“While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying,

“Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.”

But when Jesus heard it, He answered him saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”

Luke 8:49-50

Your daughter is dead. 

Four words that would collapse any parent’s world and send them spiraling, nauseated, choking, breathless, desperate, groping, lurched into the inky black darkness of loss with a voiceless scream, because they have no voice to answer those four words.

And yet, peeking in to the swirling, pulsing, torturous hum that enveloped this devestated father’s world was a single shaft of light for him to cling to:

Do not be afraid, only believe.

Two voices. One plunges the soul into despair. One challenges it to hope, to strain for something more, just out of sight.

I, too, am always choosing between these two voices:

The wallet is missing. ID, credit cards, everything! Everything’s gone! AAAAAHHHHHHHH!

What damage could someone do with all that information?                           Do not be afraid.

No way you have what it takes; you’re going to fail at this job.                             Only believe.

Bad news. Another bill you can’t afford.                                                               Do not be afraid.

Every single day, one shrill voice bears news that lures my shaken soul to collapse into fear and despair. It casts doubt, quotes statistics, counsels me not to bother, tells me not to trouble the Teacher.

Every single day, there is another voice that whispers steadily in low, warm tones. And I can hear it if I stop to listen:

Do not be afraid. I am here, right here. 

He reminds me that I am not a trouble to Him. He asks me to come.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

One voice says ‘That burden is YOUR problem, YOU deserve it and it is YOURS to bear.’

But the other voice tells me to come to Him and take a break from burdens too heavy and problems too big. They are not too much for Him.

He is the shaft of light that interrupts my swirling darkness; who did not stand by silent when four awful words crushed a desperate father that day; who whispers to crushed souls still:

Do not be afraid, reach further, only believe for a little longer. I am here. Come to me.

And I am no trouble to the Teacher that wants me there,

no matter what the other voice says.

Who is this man?

at jesus feet 6

Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”

And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

-Luke 7:48-50

Who is this man?

Who just goes around forgiving sins?

Who says to the guilty, ‘go in peace.’?

Who holds nothing against me?

Always, when I am forgiven by humans, I walk away with suspicious, reluctant relief. As if the anger is appeased for now, but only for now. I owe something. The issue isn’t over.

I do not go in peace. When is the issue EVER settled among humans?

But with You, it is, just like that.

When You forgive, the disruption is over, so that the one given forgiveness (for it is a gift), may walk away unruffled, unconcerned, knowing they have lasting peace with You.

We are held to a standard of grace, not perfection, that we may walk away at peace when forgiveness readily crosses your lips.

You are still the one that goes around forgiving sins.


Thank you for offering me grace over and over and over. Thank you for setting aside my shame, for stripping it of its grip on me.

Show me how to offer this grace to other people. Show me how to hold others to this sweet standard of ‘I will forgive you, no matter what.’

Show me how to accept it for myself, and so live,

happily imperfect,


free of burden,

delighting in a good, good Savior,

intriguing others to ask,

‘Who is this, who goes around forgiving sins?’