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Passionately Indifferent

Updated: Sep 11

“The goal, Shawn, is to be passionately indifferent about all things except Jesus.”

Those were the words spoken to me by a spiritual mentor on a silent retreat twenty-two years ago. I didn’t have a clue what he meant at the time. I’m typically overly passionate about some things and totally indifferent about others. Both extremes tend to get me into trouble.

As I have thought about these words of wisdom over the years I honestly have had a hard time imagining being passionately indifferent about the things I care most about. I wonder if a big part of the process of becoming passionately indifferent is about giving up control. Maybe passionate is becoming more honest about our desires, and indifferent is about letting those desires go and trusting that God is at work.

I believe what my mentor was getting at was moving toward the posture that Paul talked about in Philippians 3:8 “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”

Compared to knowing Christ, everything else is in the background. That means my most cherished relationships, my work, providing for my family, and even participating with the Lord in furthering the Kingdom, are all things that are properly in the backdrop compared to knowing Jesus. Wow, that seems impossible! I guess that’s what this journey of learning to surrender everything over to God is about. I have a long way to go, but I do desire this passionate indifference.

In it together,

Shawn Petree

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