Dusty and Dirty

I’m not sure how clearly it comes through in my writing, but I am a fairly moody person. It is not unusual for me to wake up feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. Maybe something didn’t go right yesterday. Maybe an important relationship is feeling a little strained. Maybe life isn’t working out as I expected. Whatever the cause, it can lead to mornings – and if I am not careful, the rest of the day – feeling let down. (Charlie Brown has always made perfect sense to me.)
One poor antidote is distraction: just get busy doing something! Now, I believe in distraction. Sometimes you are too “hot” to think clearly and need to step back. Sometimes you are a little too scared or tired or confused to start and need to ramp up a bit before you dive in. But after too long, however, you are probably just avoiding something.
Another misstep can be starting with “the big picture.” Again, I believe in looking at the big picture. But on a blue day, it is not always helpful to start the battle with myself by remembering the broad scope of God’s love and His eternal plans for my life. Those are good things to remember – and remember often – but sometimes, as a first step, it is a bit too far to begin with.
What I often need first is a more intimate touch.
And that is what I see going on in John 13, where Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. As NT Wright explains, “what we need day by day is the regular washing of those parts of ourselves, our personalities and bodies, that get dusty and dirty.” Once Peter begins to understand what Jesus is doing, he asks for a “full wash,” but as Jesus explains, that is not always necessary. Sometimes you just need the touch of the Master, not a complete overhaul.
Life is messy, and in this fallen world, it is going to wear you down and take pieces of you apart (and you will, at times, be cooperating in the process of wearing yourself out.) God our Father, knowing this, sent His Son to show a better way and to give us help when we wander from the path. God knows we need to be rescued in a big way at times, but He also knows that we need frequent, smaller, more intimate touches. We need to let Him wash our feet so that we can move past the everyday wear-and-tear of normal life.

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