I was reading the story of Peter last night; my heart completely wrung out, like a rag full of dirty water, twisted until the dirt was gone, rinsed until it was clean. I cried, talked to God about the hard things in life, about the things in my heart that I don't want him to see, the things I'm afraid to show him, the needs I'm afraid to bring forward. I didn't want to, it was opposite of every part of my natural self. I did it though. Love showed up.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
I realized I'm just like Peter as Jesus came to wash his feet. Peter felt too vulnerable, like he couldn't allow Jesus into that part of his life. I pictured Peter in that moment, so full of shame, not wanting Jesus to see his dirtiest places. This is me, I thought, the tears flowing steadily now, the realization of how I'm so like Peter. How I feel too much shame, and try to hide my less-than-clean parts from the only one who can wash them clean. How I want to run away and try to clean myself up before he sees me. My heart softens, filled with gratitude for Jesus, always coming with his love. Coming to wash us clean, to set us free, to heal us at the deepest heart level, but he can't do that if we run, if we hide. Hiding is my tendency, my go to, from a young age I've tried to hide all that could be portrayed as less than good. From getting my bike tires dirty in a mud puddle, to the angst of high school drama, to the pain of mistakes in adulthood. I've tried to hide, pretend the problems, the mistakes, the failures don't exist, pretend I'm good with God and everything is okay and I'm fine and I don't "really" need to share my mess-ups with anyone.
Suddenly I was pouring my heart out to Jesus, risking the pain of shame and vulnerability and letting him see the parts I'd been hiding, the parts that felt unsafe to bring to him. I just started talking through them out loud, and as is his nature, love was there. Love was there to cover, cleanse, heal, wash clean. No judgement, no condemnation, no anger, just a cleansing and washing over my heart as if Jesus said "thank you for sharing, I love you." It was simple and quiet and calm and so full of freedom. Love's gentleness speaking to me, full of grace and kindness. A tender touch.
This morning my heart feels clearer. My mind is able to focus. I don't have all those "excess" thoughts and worries cluttering up my life. I laid it all out there, and the faithfulness of a God who is love came and showed up and reminded me that I belong, that love is a safe place for me, that steadiness and stability will always be there. That he will always, always, always be safe. Instead of the shame I thought I'd feel, the shame is gone. I feel loved.