Let me begin this post by saying that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. Most days I think to myself “how did I even get to this place? What am I even doing with my life?”. I’ll admit that some days I don’t feel like I am following Jesus. I’ll admit that a lot of times I doubt myself, I question whether or not I am really the person that Jesus wants to serve Him. I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, with feeling like I will never measure up, will never be good enough. I get stuck in this mindset a lot, I start to believe in the lies the enemy is shouting at me.
You see, it’s all too easy to listen to the shouts of the enemy instead of the gentle whisper of God. Something I’m beginning to realize is that the enemy takes God’s words and distorts and twists them until they are no longer the truth but rather poison that seeps into our minds.
Whenever I reflect on these feelings of inadequacy, these feelings of not measuring up, I ask myself the question “measure up to what?” Nowhere in the bible does Jesus have this list of things you have to do to “measure up”. Jesus doesn’t call those who measure up or who are qualified, He calls the broken, the weary, and the unqualified. When Jesus first calls His disciples, He doesn’t have them go through a try out or complete an interview. He didn’t have them list their qualifications. In fact, Jesus doesn’t speak with them at all beforehand, before calling them.
The first words Jesus speaks to Simon(Peter) and Andrew are “Come follow me” ( Matthew 4:19). Without hesitation or questioning, Simon and Andrew left their nets and followed Him. I can only imagine what power and authority Jesus had in His voice and in His presence that compelled Simon and Andrew to follow Him with reckless abandonment. That power and authority has not faded, Jesus possess that same power, same authority and same certainty when He calls us. He possesses that authority and confidence not just when He calls us as believers but when He calls us to something new, when He calls us moment by moment to follow Him. Whether that is following Him to a new city, a new job, or just following Him in the mundane daily tasks of life, He is calling us with confidence and certainty.
I’m learning that following Jesus isn’t just something you do when you chose to believe in Him and in the Gospel. It is not just something you do when you make a big decision in your life like a move or a job, but rather, following Jesus is woven into every fabric of my day to day life. Following Jesus is a moment to moment, step by step process. What is so beautiful to me about following Jesus is that we don’t have to be good enough to follow Him; there is no list of qualifications we must possess in order to follow Him. We don’t have to be qualified, we just have to trust Him enough to leave our nets behind and go where He goes.
Now I wish I could say that I have as much faith in Jesus as Simon and Andrew did. I wish I could say that I leave my nets behind and follow Jesus, no questions asked, but many times I don’t. I hear His call yet I make sure I fold my net and put it away, I make sure I have a backup plan in case where I follow Him doesn’t work out, I question and think and essentially challenge His callings in my life. Like Peter, I question Jesus, asking Him to show me that it is Him I am following, asking Him to give me some reassurance that I will be okay if I follow Him. I see Jesus and I call out to Him “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Jesus beckons me out onto the water and I begin to walk on the water toward Him, my eyes fixated on my Savior. Some days though I take my eyes off Jesus and my gaze shifts away from Jesus and on to the churning waves and howling winds around and I begin to sink.
What happens next in this story is a beautiful glimpse of the character of Jesus. “Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed His hand.” (Matthew 14:31/ The Message). Jesus doesn’t reprimand us for sinking nor is He disappointed in us when our eyes drift away from Him. Instead, He reaches down, rescues us, and refocuses our gaze back on Him. What I love about this passage in Matthew is that Jesus chose to rescue and speaks with Peter while the storm was still happening. Following Jesus doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have storms. Following Him means that He is present with us during the storm.
Throughout these past two months in Salt Lake, I have experienced wonderful, brilliant moments of clarity where I see Jesus and my eyes are fixed upon Him and I am walking toward Him on the water. I also have experienced moments where the wind is howling, the waves are knocking into me, and I feel like I am sinking. In both instances, Jesus is present with me. I’m not really sure what I am doing still but thankfully Jesus doesn’t care that I don’t have things figured out, He just wants me to step out of the boat and walk toward Him.
Salt Lake Fellow
Class of 2016-17