It’s got to be hard sticking it out with me.

I don’t know yet how to recognize that fact and constructively absorb its truth without engaging in self-flagellation, but I know I want to. I have no illusion that rattling off my faults effects some proportionality of sanctification in me, as if some transaction takes place where, if I sufficiently hug the cactus, I then pump myself full of just that quantity of holiness. But that doesn’t automatically make trying to come to terms with the scope of my imperfection much easier as I have so little practice with studying these things under the microscope of grace.

Yes, there’s a horizon of anxiety and terror that is abated because, coram Deo, I’m righteous, accepted, justified, his robes for mine, the entire substitutionary, imputational aspect of being counted something I know I’m not in and of myself. But coram aliis, here on the plane of planet Earth where other humans live and work and try to unwind at the end of the day, I know I make things more difficult. I know I get in the way of jobs getting efficiently done and of fun being had.

I know I don’t have to fix these things to secure my salvation. But that isn’t the only reason to be distressed about something, or to want things to be otherwise, right? Because I’m not looking only for my estrangement from God to be overcome by God—I desperately need the estrangement that opens up between me and my people to be rectified. We all want wholeness vertically and horizontally, and lately I find myself wishing there wasn’t such a ways to go with the latter.

I don’t want to disappoint those I love or be a burden to them. I hate how the hang-ups I have—that I don’t completely understand my own self—get in the way of what I want most. And I’m afraid of being too much for people to handle. I’m always waiting for the saturation point to be reached where I’ve said too much or gone too far, and now I’m out.

I know I haven’t lived up to my own convictions or the expectations I endorse for others, and I want you to know that I know it, and that it bothers me. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I don’t want you to wonder if I actually care or not. I’m in, and I’m sorry I ever handle things in ways that could call that into question.

When I’m raveled up in the cords of what I’m immediately worried about and all of its implications and consequences and forget to call you back, I’m sorry.

When I’m moody because I haven’t yet penetrated to the utmost depths of those implications and consequences and they’re just dangling, unresolved, I’m sorry.

When I suddenly have to leave and take a walk because the annoyance quotient in the house is just polluting my soul, I’m sorry.

When what’s on my mind is a tidal wave crashing over you and you’re just not ready yet for this typhoon of information and unfocused feeling, I’m sorry.

When I thought I understood what your expectation was and therefore didn’t ask for clarification because I really, truly, thought I grasped it but ended up bungling the whole thing, I’m sorry.

When I pivot from what we’ve been talking about to something really heavy that’s bowing my heart down because some association only I can sense seemed to beckon me on, I’m sorry.

When I get mad because I’m afraid you’re trying to push me towards something, I’m sorry. And when I wish you were over this, or you wish I was over that, I’m sorry for that, too.

When I singlehandedly finish off most of the Diet Cherry Pepsi myself because I’m feeling bland and want an injection of sweetness, I’m sorry.

When I’m flabbergasted at how I’m supposed to take care of all the things I said I would because it feels like too much, I’m sorry.

When I’m irritable because I really ought to have gotten more sleep last night but I was afraid of missing out on ghost videos on YouTube, I’m sorry.

I just want you to know that even when I’m not delivering on the ideal, I love you, and I’m trying. I’m not trying to get a free pass for messing up by presenting all these things as what I am so they just have to be tolerated. That is, they’re not the truth about me—they are true things about me, but they aren’t the whole story, or the definitive story. Dear friends, what I have been, I have been; what I’m working on, I’m working on; and what I will be has not yet been made known (1 John 3:2). This is what spurs me on. 

The list I can inventory is a little dismaying. It’s kind of one thing to know there’s a lot that’s messed up about you, and it’s another to see them identified explicitly and amassed together. To know these aren’t things that happened once back when, but are things you can pinpoint about me from this week. That I’m Peter. But I promise you, even when I’m grouchy, even when I’m feeling sorry for myself and talking more about me than about you, even when I can’t even, I really do love you. I just kind of suck. And my hope is that the grace that allows us to tell the truth about what is is going to make my shortcomings more visible as options I don’t have to take; is going to fuel my movement towards freedom from fear; is going to help you put up with me in the meantime. Thanks for not giving up on me.