When I said I wanted this blog to be authentic and transparent, I wasn’t kidding. So here we go: As much it makes me sick to my stomach to admit this, I was very recently a Peter.
The disciple was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He sat at his feet and heard him speak. He personally saw Jesus heal people, cast out demons and raise Lazarus from the dead. He saw it all – and yet, when put to the test, he denied ever knowing him.
I hate to include in so many posts, the words: “When my journey with writing started”, but that is where so many revelations of my life and my life in Christ began to take place, so I can’t help myself. I was saved at a young age, but my testimony is what God has done in me over the last four or so years. It’s almost as if I have a BW (Before Writing) and AW (After Writing) world.
This particular story, of how I got to my time as Peter, starts during a time of great need and serious confusion. I was crying out to the Lord to use me – in any way he saw fit. I swore to him, gave him my word that I would use whatever it was he gave me to do, to glorify him. Within weeks I woke up and started writing the scenes he gave me in my dreams. Salvaged was birthed, Rise and Collision soon followed.
At the same time I wrote the books, I was keeping a blog. It was an outlet to share stories out of my life and attach a spiritual lesson to them. Some things were serious, a few controversial, some were more for laughs. They ran the gamut, but pretty much always had a spiritual message pointing back to the Lord and how he’s moved in my life.
Fast forward a few years. Three books are out. Three books written at his prompting. Three books that I truly believe chased after the heart of God. Three books that impacted the lives of people in a mighty way. More attention came their way, I began to feel pressure. The pressure to please – everyone. The pressure to build my audience. Collision became the avenue for that. It is much more mainstream than the other two books. It became my chance to reach the masses (or at least the masses in my little part of the publishing world).
As the pressure built to grow my audience, I closed the blog portion of my website.You know, in case I might offend someone who was coming to check out Collision. I justified it by telling myself that I wouldn’t want to turn someone off. If they came to the site and saw that I was spouting Christianity, maybe they wouldn’t give the book a try. Maybe it was best if I weren’t so obvious. Trust me, the justifications came in floods.
I think what shocks me the most, and makes me the most disgusted with myself is how quickly it happened and how clueless I was to the fact that I was actually making the choice to hide my beliefs in order to please man. Honestly, until recently, it didn’t even cross my mind. I thought I was making a smart business decision. Since when did denying or hiding Christ become an acceptable excuse to build up your own popularity or earn more money? Sickening isn’t it?
Throughout my entire life and especially through the last four years, I have witnessed the Lord do some amazing things. I’ve sat at his feet. I’ve built a personal relationship with him. Yet, when attention turned to me – I denied him. I’ve never come out and said I wasn’t a Christian, but I certainly tried to keep it a little more on the down low. It’s shallow and shameful. I’m disappointed in myself and I can only fathom what Peter felt when he did the same.
My life would be nothing if it weren’t for Christ. I wouldn’t have the family and friends I have, the opportunities I’ve been given. And I wouldn’t have told the stories I’ve told, without him literally placing every word in my head. Why on earth I would try to hide that from anyone, is nothing less than selfishness and pride. It’s also the breaking of my word.
There are a few comforting moments through this time of reflection and having the scales removed from my eyes. First, I take comfort in knowing that although Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus turned right around and gave him the chance to proclaim his love for him – three times. (I blogged about that special moment – you can read it here) I also take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only person who ever chose to make the decision I made. Peter, Jesus’ closest friend made the same mistake. And Jesus in his loving way, never turned his back on Peter in a time of need and he won’t for me either. Jesus’ love never changed. Never has, never will, no matter what idiotic things I end up doing. No matter how much I may grieve his heart.
I pray that I never again lose sight of what’s most important. I pray that I never again put the thoughts or opinions of man against that of the Heavenly Father who has never left my side. And I hope the next time I compare myself to Peter, I’m comparing myself to the fact that the Lord was able to use him to spread His message and he’s using me to do the same.
I share this story of my utter failure because we’re all such flawed people and we all royally screw up from time to time. Maybe you don’t deny Christ the way Peter and I did, but you’ve done some things you aren’t so proud of. Take comfort in the truth – that Jesus will never leave or forsake you. His love will never lessen or fail. And when we come to a point where we can see what we’ve done and repent, we can then continue on our way – on that wonderful personal journey with the Lord.