Hold Fast and Let Go

By John DeBoer  |  April 6th

Do you ever find yourself getting tired of the sound of your own voice saying the same things over and over again? Have you run into obstacles this year that in any other year would have seemed so much easier to handle? Have you had enough of words and phrases like “pivot”, “unprecedented”, and “You’re still on mute” yet?

Hi everyone—I sure hope the sun is shining wherever you are! Not to be an Eeyore (I recommend you watch Winnie the Pooh), but sometimes it just feels good to name the “I’m sick ofs” and “what ifs” before noticing the sunshine and blue skies.

I think it is safe to say we are in the final lap of this school year—the home stretch. We’re almost there. But how do we get to the finish line when we feel so, so human and so, so not enough.

I have two questions for you.

What has been hard and challenging? What am I tired of? What am I worried about? What questions am I sick of? What bad habits have I fallen into? When have I been stuck in self-pity? Take a moment to name and list these things. Get to the visceral. “I am so tired of …” “I am so sick of …” You get the idea.

Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles …” What’s holding you back? What do you need to not just shrug off, but actually throw off? What’s on your list that you need to name, to share, and to move on from?

What has been good? Where have you found joy? Can you join me in getting past the Eeyore moments of life by naming the good? Where have you found strength and stability? How has the new firepit worked out? Are you finding it easier to connect with friends on Zoom? What rhythms have you begun that are life-giving and need to continue? Spend some time listing these things right now. Get past the easy ones and dig deeper.

Hebrews 12:2 directs us to “fix [our] eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” The text goes on to say that Jesus knew the joy that would come. Joy is a choice. It begins with fixing my eyes on Jesus—not glancing, not staring, not scanning but fixing—with intent and purpose, and even with stubbornness and defiance.

I was recently reminded of a concept Andy Crouch outlines in his book Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk, and True Flourishing. Authority is being in the image of God and having the capacity for meaningful action. Vulnerability is being exposed to meaningful risk. To be human is to have greater authority and vulnerability than any other creature. We flourish when everyone has that kind of authority and when vulnerability is borne together. 

It is April. It has been more than a year since we started using that word "pivot". We wait. We support each other and our communities. And we continue to look ahead with hope and place joy in our hearts. We fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Let’s live together in this beautiful tension: holding fast to drifting wood in turbulent seas while also letting go to the full experience of joyful moments.


John DeBoer is the High School Cohort Leader and Principal at King’s Christian Collegiate in Oakville, ON.