I never imagined that my first entry would come from such a brutal place of humility. But I am very aware that what I have seen about myself today is part of why I began “Making Me New” in the first place…so now I will begin my confession.
I have always loved the disciple Peter. I have often felt a kindred spirit with that man and he is usually my quick response to the question, “Who are you most excited to meet in heaven?” (besides Jesus, because we all know JESUS is the right answer, every time).
The reason I love Peter is because I understand so much why he often behaved the way he did. He was a man of great passion. He was a man of bravery and boldness. He was often unwavering and quick to respond to a call of action. He was friends with Jesus. And he was in a process of being made new.
He was also quite ridiculous.
You see, for every story that sticks out to me about Peter, I was given a merciful but honest forehead flick by the Holy Spirit today:
1. ) Let’s start with the fact that Peter’s name was changed. Can you think of a better way to start fresh and new? I think Jesus knew for Peter that even his name had to change in order for him to hold on to that newness in times when the past seemed to creep up on him. To taunt him. While God has not given me a new name per se, he inspired this ministry on the truth of being made new and claiming new identity in Him. When I behave out of old patterns, he gently but firmly reminds me, “Daughter, you are not HER anymore. I am asking you to respond differently…”
2.) Peter asked questions. He was human and he didn’t try to hide this from the Son of God. He was the first to say to Jesus, “We have left everything for You. What do WE get out of this?” Yeesh. I would like to think I wouldn’t have been so selfish if I had been actively walking alongside Jesus but I DO THIS very thing! I all but yelled at Him today, “Why am I HERE?? What makes You think this is a good idea?!” And you know what I love? Jesus answers Peter. He welcomes the questions. And He lets me process out loud with Him, to dialogue until the answers come, or at least the peace comes.
3.) Peter was the first and only to step out of the boat when Jesus called. What a guy! Every one else sat in the boat probably either thinking one of two things: he is gonna die or he thinks he is soooo spiritual. But I get Peter here. I also claim to be a woman of great faith. I am often perceived in one of these two camps as well. But today I saw in myself that while I am a woman who tries to follow the call to action and hold great faith, I am also the woman who starts panicking, bargaining, doubting and shouting when the waters rise and the bravery no longer feels like such a great idea. I am quite ridiculous.
4.) Peter cut off a man’s ear when that man became a threat to his best friend, Jesus. Boy do I know and share that attribute. I will be the first to defend the ones I love, and my anger has caused me to do and say some crazy things. I have yet to wound anyone physically in my passionate defenses, but even in my desire to defend someone out of heroic love, I have often hurt another or just looked downright stupid. This is when every personality assessment that tries to put a positive spin on my “passion” needs to take a backseat to the motivation of doing all things in LOVE. Picking the right battles, maintaining emotionally stability, being less impulsive in moments that probably would be best to count to ten- these were areas of growth for Pete and they are for me.
5. ) Peter denied Jesus after saying he wouldn’t. Promising he wouldn’t. Indignantly shouting that he wouldn’t. He took offense at the very idea. But when the time came, the interrogation lamp quite hot, he did the very thing he said he wouldn’t do. Definition of hypocrite right? And there I am. Weeping next to Peter in disgust at how quickly I can flip the switch. I am so quick to tell others that they need to be calm, trust God, and not grow weary in doing well. And today I am the same cornered woman denying Him and His will for me.
Peter was precious to Jesus. Even though he was ridiculous, Jesus had great affection for Him. In fact, their relationship was unique and special. Jesus shared His heart with Peter. I think he genuinely liked Him. In fact, I will go so far as to say He probably laughed at and with Peter a lot. And don’t we know that we need the friend who can laugh, shake their head at our silliness and continue on the journey? We all need that tangible friend I think, but what if the Peter in us were to fully know that Jesus is that friend? That He smiles at our feeble attempts to be brave on His part. That He is still proud of our outrageous ability to be a anchored large ship when we are really just a shaky little boat. God showed me today that my passionate and bold love for Him MUST be held up by the motivation to LOVE patiently and kindly and not act out of fear. That I, the woman of great faith, am still prone to wander and to doubt. The fight or flight behavior raging inside of me has gotta go. It’s part of my sanctification. It’s part of my process of becoming more like Jesus. He is pruning this rotting branch that has to die so NEW and healthy fruit can grow.
Making Me New starts with me.
And I have to admit, I am a tearfully grateful branch. I am learning to abide.