I just celebrated my 51st birthday, but in truth, I feel stuck at 27. It’s not so much the vanity of not wanting my hair to gray, my eyesight to fade, or my physique to sag. The real battle is that my personality is seemingly frozen in young adulthood. I’m admittedly naive, retaining a youthful enthusiasm about most issues, and a belief that somehow the really bad outcomes in life will not come to my doorstep. I imbibe the immature Kool-Aid that frequently acts impulsively first, and considers consequences after the fact. It is not uncommon for me to have to remove my foot from my mouth.
In this way, I relate to Peter from the Bible.
He strikes me as a man of great enthusiasm and gusto, perhaps plagued by insecurities, who straddles emotions of great courage, and intense timidity. He often dove in, whether in word or in deed, only later to consider the merits of his decision.
One account, that highlights Peter’s impetuous manner, is found in John 13:5-9
After that, Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Peter dove in. He spoke before he understood. He was impulsive, rash, courageous and ignorant.
He was a “yes-man” of a different order.
I consider myself, for better or worse, a kindred spirit.
In many arenas in life, I dive right in.
My ignorance is bliss.
My ignorance, is Yes.
Like Peter, I’ve made bold proclamations in my life, only to turn on a dime when it was clear that my path was not aligned with the truth.
Like Peter, I’ve set my course, only to be shown I’m headed in the wrong direction, and responded by pulling up my stakes and plotting a new path.
Peter got out of the boat, and for a moment, walked on the water.
Peter was willing to have the water cleanse not only his feet, but his hands and head as well.
Even when ignorant of the waves that awaited him, he was all-in.
His ignorance, was yes.
It seems to me that while Peter didn’t always understand the challenges before him, he learned to trust in the One who led him.
This is how I want to be. I want to dive in. Sure, I need to be aware of the costs. Yes, I need to self-impose realistic boundaries.
But let me get to the deep waters.
Sure, I realize there are waves there.
I know that I’m ignorant of what lies beneath the surface.
Truth is, I’m not a skilled surfer.
Heck, I’m not even a great swimmer.
But I know who the life guard is.
He’s got my back.
He is able to pull me up,
and reel me in.
If He asks me to ride the tide,
I’m diving in.
Because in Him,
Ignorant of what may lie ahead
I say “Yes”.
Here are my “Dive” principles for 2015: