Keep Back Nothing

Keep back nothing. Nothing you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else is thrown in. (Lewis, 190)

For two years, I was a JV cheerleader at Hallsboro High School. Even then, I was a fairly round individual. Sturdy. And so, I was a “base” in the pyramid. I was that girl on bottom, holding up the skinny cheerleader that was the glorious “flyer” at the top of the pyramid. I knew my job and I was good at it. In fact, when we were planning cheers, other cheerleaders would ask for me to be their base. They trusted me and they knew I wouldn’t let them fall. I never dropped another cheerleader. And while the cheerleaders on top got the attention and the applause, I was never jealous because I knew that I was where I was supposed to be—what I was good at. And I knew I wouldn’t be any good at doing anything else.

Really, this has always been my position. I’ve never really been a “flyer.” I’ve been the person that holds up the flyer and keeps their legs steady and their feet sure. And if they can’t keep their balance, I’ve been the person that catches them.

Admittedly, being a “base” in grown-up life is much harder than being a base in cheerleading. Honestly, there are times that I’m not steady. I wobble. My grip slips. And though I have never meant to, I’ve dropped people.

I’m not perfect. Nobody is. But when other peoples’ well-being is at stake, I have to do everything I can to make myself stronger—to be the best base I can be.

The problem is that there’s nothing else I can do.

See, the difference is that as a cheerleader, I could practice. I could work out and build my muscles. I could focus and put my hands and feet in the right places. All of those things, I could control and it would make “the magic” happen. But as a Christian, nothing I can do is going to be enough. I can’t be good enough. I can’t be strong enough. Because when it all comes down to it, I’m just a pile of dust with the breath of God flowing through my lungs.

Anything that’s good in me, God put there.

Any strength I have, God gave me.

Any wisdom I have, God put in me.

As we finish up this book from CS Lewis, this last bit is what I most want to remember. So, I’m saying this to myself and I’ll let you listen in, if you want.

“Keep back nothing.”

Give God your wretchedness, your sinfulness, your selfishness, your weakness, your foolishness.

And then as God gives you the good stuff, give it away.

“Keep back nothing.”

Be the base. Hold people up. And when they fall, catch them.

Because nothing that I haven’t given away, will ever be mine…

And nothing in me that hasn’t died, will ever get life breathed back into it…

If I look for myself, I won’t find anything there but a pile of dust and ashes…

But as I look for Christ, I’ll find Him and when I find Him, I’ll find everything.

This post is part of a regular discussion that my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, some of our friends, and I are having on CS Lewis’ classic book, “Mere Christianity.” Please feel free to stick around and discuss, whether you’ve been reading the book or not. And if you’ve written a response to the chapter, please link it up below. Thanks! Also, if you have a spare minute or two today, please run by my friend Andy’s site “Sharing Travel Experiences” and read my guest post there on “How to Deal with Culture Shock.” Thanks again!


About Sarah Salter


  1. I’m aware of other analogies, but I love the cheerleader one because it’s so simple and you can understand it.

    Everyone has a role. The magic is in finding it.

  2. I’m aware of other analogies, but I love the cheerleader one because it’s so simple and you can understand it.

    Everyone has a role. The magic is in finding it.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Andy, I TOTALLY agree! 🙂

  4. You are right sarah we should trust God and everything will be fine. I loved your post.

  5. Because we’re Christians, we can’t practice. We have to live it.

    Thanks, Sarah, to you and Jason for hosting this discussion — for 33 weeks!

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Lara, thank you!

    Glynn, thank you so much for joining us for this journey! It has been a blessing and a privilege! 🙂

  7. Ok, I was thinking about your post until I saw Glynn’s comment. 33 weeks? Really? Wowsers…

    Back on track…

    We can only be a strong base if our feet are set on The Strong Foundation. Else-wise, we fail.

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Amen, Dusty!! 🙂

  9. Yes and AMEN, Sarah!! A good word and challenge for me to keep back nothing! Thank you girl. Love you!

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Love you, too, JoMama!! And if I know you… and I do… you won’t keep back anything!

  11. Sarah, did I ever tell you what an excellent support you were to me when my mom got sick and then died? I knew that you were supporting me in prayer as well as verbally and emotionally. Thank you.

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    Helen, you’re absolutely welcome! It’s my pleasure to walk this journey with you! You are such a blessing to me!

  13. when we look…we find Him…


  14. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Nance! 🙂

  15. Awesome reminder, Sarah! We can forget that we continually brin Him out good AND our bad. That’s not just a ‘salvation’ thing. It’s every day and He changes us so incredibly. Thanks for this. Wonderful way to wrap up this book discussion. Keep Nothing Back–yes!

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