There are usually ten minutes during my lunch break dedicated to walking the same loop around the block. I finish my salad and step outside to take a moment to breathe in the middle of my work day, to pray, to express gratitude, and to tell God what’s on my mind.
I didn’t really know how to be honest with God before I hit my twenties. I played with the idea of honesty, but it was a more boxed honesty. I believed in a certain way of expressing sadness or confusion or fear or loneliness, a certain way of expressing joy and hope. I was afraid of the feelings of confusion and fear – that they were the only indication of what was true. So I thought I had to run from the feelings, and that God couldn’t be a part of the process of reckoning with them.
There’s a story in the Bible that I’ve been re-visiting: the story of Jacob wrestling with God.
“Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’ But Jacob replied ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32: 26)
After Jacob asks for this blessing, he is named Israel.
This encounter with God is so strange, and yet comforting to me. Jacob is resilient, pleading for something from God – a blessing, a naming. And he fights for it – with all of his being.
I hesitate to insert myself into Jacob’s story, but I find in my own walk with God, that we’re wrestling too. I’m learning to be okay with this concept of wrestling in and of itself: the push and pull, the question and answer, the struggle. It’s not always a synchronized walk, or a perfected dance.
Wrestling requires a sort of bravery I’m seeking: an honesty that is often what I so deeply want to give and voice, but am afraid to do. But sometimes, during those ten minutes at lunch, I voice the truth to God, and it’s a kind of wrestling.
I ask a lot of “why’s”, I name feelings and fears without a resolution or plan for how to figure it out, I tell him that trust feels hard. I tell him about fear (oh yes, we talk about fear all. the. time.). I tell him how frustrated I am to be learning the same lessons over and over again.
Perhaps the purpose of this post is a reminder to myself to keep wrestling – to not give up, just as Jacob refused to do. I write to remind myself to keep wrestling and waiting for the blessing – and to see that the blessing is happening around me.
I claim those ten minutes as sacred time with God, and I’m thankful he wrestles not only with me, but for me.