I have never fished a day in my life. I love to eat fish; I just rely on others to catch fish. Jesus used various fishing expressions to teach His disciples, so I believe it is important to gain a perspective on what those phrases mean to us individually. In layman’s terms, to CATCH AND RELEASE refers to catching fish for sport or enjoyment, then releasing them back into the water. This differs from individuals who fish to provide a meal for themselves or fishing industries who catch fish for profit.
It was brought to my attention, not in this designation of words, but in concept that I am an excellent catcher. Conversely, I have not done well in the release department. I take on problems and responsibilities unintended for me to bear alone. Because of this misguided way of thinking, what I catch becomes a burden too heavy. My Grandmother in her wisdom gave me a gift of writing stationary nearly forty-five years ago. Inscribed was the Scripture 1 Peter 5:7 KJV “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.” Perhaps even as a child I could CATCH well, but needed to learn the discipline of RELEASE or casting. Casting in this context is the Greek word Epirrhipto, which means “to throw upon.” God is asking us to throw upon Him our cares, because He cares for us.
This brings me to my son Caleb, who definitely has hoarding issues. Webster defines hoarding as “To collect and lay up a large quantity of anything; to amass and deposit in secret.” Caleb collects, or for our purposes, “CATCHES” things like wrappers, magazines, flyers, old napkins etc. He puts these treasures along with his dirty clothes, clean laundry, and other memorabilia in suitcases, backpacks, and grocery bags. Honestly, it frustrates me to the point that I “help” him purge, cast, or RELEASE what is unnecessary or not beneficial.
It is easy for me to see Caleb’s hoarding behaviors. What about my own? I like order and cleanliness. How could I possibly hoard anything? According to Webster, I have been amassing cares, worries, stress, responsibilities, and other various problems carrying them in secret places resulting in physical pain. Two nights ago I accompanied Caleb to Night To Shine, a prom for people with Special Needs, sponsored by Tim Tebow. While Caleb danced the night away, I escaped to the respite room for caregivers and was pampered with snacks, quiet reading time, and a chair massage from a gifted therapist. Her words to me were, “Girl, your shoulders are all jacked up!” I justified myself by telling her I had a rough week. The next day I had a scheduled table massage; one of my monthly health goals in 2019 for self-care. That therapist told me at the end, “I hope you come back soon. There is a lot more work to be done.” The tune of the children’s song Jesus Loves Me came to mind; however the words were very different. “I’ve been hoarding this I know, for my shoulders tell me so.” Notice that I called out the behavior, and did not use hoarder as my identity. The enemy, the condemner, deceives us into believing our identity is our sin to enslave us. My identity is child of God. The Holy Spirit will convict me when I miss the mark. I then choose to repent, or change my thinking, followed by modifying my behavior. Jesus frees me from my sin of hoarding, or taking control. I do not just release my burdens, I throw them upon God.
Use that little tune to discover where your hoarding tendencies are. “I’ve been hoarding this I know, for my………tells me so.” Perhaps a part of your body like mine is agitated with the burdens you cleave to. Do you shop to feel better? Maybe your blank is a closet or garage. Do you live to eat? Waistline might fill in those dots. How about bank account? It will surely reveal what you catch and keep. Do you spend countless hours attempting to find fulfillment in a job at the expense of loved ones? Time could be what “tells me so.” Any load held onto under our own control will wind up weighing us down physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. CATCH, acknowledge what comes your way, then RELEASE these things to God. He is the One who truly cares and wants you to throw, throw as hard as you can, those things you were never intended to carry yourself. When we learn to cast our cares on the One who cares for us, we will develop the daily discipline of CATCH AND RELEASE and be free of the hoarding that ensues without our surrender.