I remember the first time I went fishing. It was with my dad. My twin sister and I hadn’t seen him in several years. Now back in our lives, visits with him included adventures—roller skating, target shooting, and scary movies.
A memorable adventure was fishing. I didn’t like dealing with worms that squirmed or baiting the hooks.
There’s something I quickly learned about fishing—not all fish were keepers.
Maybe, it’s just the sport of fishing—to say you caught this fish—then throw it back. Possibly, it’s for dinner or a fish story. You know, the thrill of using hands to describe you caught a humdinger. Perhaps, it’s to pose with a fish for a picture or a fishing contest. But sometimes the fish isn’t the one you were hoping to catch.
You keep some, you throw some back.
The same is true in life. After my early fishing adventures (pre-teen), I learned there’s keeper-lessons with people. A boyfriend decided another girl made a better catch. So-called-friends didn’t view me as a keeper and went fishing.
The hurt lingered when I was thrown back. I wondered, Am I good enough? The years of my father’s absence set my heart up for a I-must-not-be-a-keeper mentality. Each time someone threw me back into life’s pond, my heart made a mental note, You’re not a keeper—you’re just not.
While my father was absent from my life for a period of time, I have a brother who never knew our dad. James was raised by his mother in another state. I met James a few years ago and he conveyed how he felt thrown away like yesterday’s newspaper. Since his father forgot him, he also forgot his father.
Hooks from being reeled in and then let go often leave bloody damage behind.
It’s often the story in life. Pets are abandoned because they aren’t keepers. Children awaiting foster care or adoption feel as though they aren’t keepers. If they were, they’d have parents.
I have friends whose spouse said out loud, “I don’t love you anymore.” A husband or wife may also convey you’re not a keeper if they have an affair.
A person you’re in a relationship with might say it with their eyes—they’re always looking for better fish in the pond. They go fishing often. People in your life may compare you to others deemed keepers—a good catch.
Thoughts that I’m not a keeper still creep into my mind:
- You’ll never amount to anything as a writer. A publisher will never see your book or you as a keeper.
- You were in the company lay-off because others performed at a higher level. You’re not a keeper.
- She stopped reaching out because you’re not a keeper. She found keeper-friends.
- You make a lousy child, mother, friend, pastor’s wife, and employee. If only they could throw you back, they would. If only. Others are keepers. Karen Friday? Not so much.
How about you? Does your heart and mind try to convince you that you’re not a keeper? All the times you’ve been thrown back make the inside chatter stronger.
I’m still learning about keepers. Truths from God and His Word. A realization that my inside chatter sometimes lies. And so does the enemy whose motive is to kill, steal, and destroy (see John 10:10). Satan enjoys it when my thoughts become swirled in a cloud of hurt. Past hurt and present hurt. He’s constantly hoping I’ll buy-in to the lie, I couldn’t possibly be a keeper.
But—and this is a monumental but—the Lord consistently reminds me, “Karen, you’re a keeper.” What God says overrides our inside chatter. He trumps words from others who threw us back. The Lord overcomes the enemy’s plan to use those throwing-back experiences to further injure our hearts.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NLT).
The Lord Jesus Christ will never, ever, ever let me go. He’ll never throw you back. To Him, we’ll always be a catch worth keeping.
God’s speaking to you today, “I will always love you. You’re a keeper.”
© 2016 by Karen Friday, All rights reserved
February 4, 2016 at 9:28 am | Uncategorized