Work in progress 

I come home to the bed that wasn’t made this morning. In my rush to get to work on time I left the comforter on the floor and the sheets pulled away, not to mention my breakfast on the counter and clothes scattered on my bedroom floor.

I pull the sheets over me for the sense of comfort, even though it’s over 70 degrees outside. I get into bed because I am weary and frustrated and saddened by the reality of being a work in progress, WIP as they say on report cards in school. Tears fall as I cry out “this growing thing is so hard.” (Some swear words mixed in there too, if we’re being totally honest). I feel vulnerable and saddened by my own weakness, the same conversations that get repeated in different contexts, year after year.

“I know I am weak in this area. And I know I’ve messed up because of it. I know I need to be more confident. And I promise I’ll keep working on it.” This exposes the truth. And sometimes the truth hurts.

I hope and dream about being a person known as brave and kind: the bad ass, the one who fights with passion and argues with tenacity. The one who laughs confidently and is so many things. And today I don’t feel like any of those things.

One might say “everyone is a WIP – isn’t that some form of comfort?” Not really, at least not today.

These past two weeks I have been reading the gospel of Mark, searching and expecting to watch the way Jesus taught and mentored his disciples. But today, for a quick second I took my focus off of what Jesus was actually doing, and wondered what the disciples were feeling on this journey with the son of God? What were they feeling when Jesus said to them yet again “don’t you see it? Are your hearts still hardened? Why don’t you understand?”

How did they feel time and time again staring at their unbelief, their doubt, their fear, their smallness in comparison to Jesus’ greatness? I don’t know how they felt; I can imagine there were a myriad of emotions – chief among them confusion and frustration (but really, who is this guy? What is he doing?!)

At the end of Mark’s gospel, after Peter denies three times that he knows Jesus right before Jesus is about to be crucified, I get a glimpse of Peter’s emotion. Once Peter realizes what he had done, the author writes that “he wept.”

Peter experienced tears. Peter was saddened by his unbelief, his failure, his betrayal. He too probably had a list of things he hoped he to be, and being fearful and denying Jesus was definitely not on that list.

“Peter came home crying too” my roommate tells me as I reflect on the past few hours and where God is speaking. Maybe if Peter had a bed close by, he too would have curled up in the sheets.

I forget that the journey of following Jesus, of being his disciple is vulnerable work. Light shuts out the darkness. Discipleship and growth force me to wrestle in the darkness, to call out the weakness and ask for help. Fear is exposed, and I hate seeing it.

I forget that Jesus was patient with humanity, and he stuck it out with twelve guys who couldn’t even keep their eyes open when he was enduring one of the darkest nights of his life. The words “why do you still not believe?” may sound harsh at first read, but I hear them next to Peter, one who is also struggling to believe, one who is also still afraid, one who is also still wrestling with his own doubt.

As my own tears fall, I’m not left feeling lonely. Sad, yes, but lonely? Not in this. There is comfort knowing Peter’s emotion and struggle. He felt it too.

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