God Loves A Mess
A couple of weeks ago, we had a big storm. Pouring rain. A little thunder. I was working my shift at the World Market. Moose, my dog was HOME ALONE!
Now, I just don't think of him as a nervous nellie. And yet, there's just no other word to use for the state of house post storm and post World Market shift. What we had here was a mess! Things were everywhere. The "moose gate" which prevents him from going to our lower level was knocked down. Garbage cans were turned on their sides. You get the picture.
My solution: jail! Last week, I started kenneling him once again. He was confined. The house would be safe until I returned.
Until last Friday...
Last Friday, I went out to dinner with a friend. We weren't gone long. And everything appeared normal when I released my furry friend from jail. About an hour later, while watching TV, I looked down to see a piece of electrical wire. Upon further inspection, there was a huge mound of electrical wire, chewed into bits in Moose's kennel. It seems he had pulled the electrical cord from our electric "power up" recliner and an extension cord into his kennel and got down to business.
Cords were severed. Our chair no longer reclines since it depends on electricity. And well, just a mess!
Somehow, I don't think Moose is alone. Have we ever made a mess waiting on God? You know, God is taking too long so we jump in tol help him out. Arranging. Fixing. Worrying about things because He's too busy. Maybe it's running ahead of God when things aren't going well at work. Or trying to fix a relationship or find a relationship. Or maybe it's in helping our spouse or kids change.
Whatever it is, watching Moose make a mess gave me a new appreciation for the messes I make in my attempt to make things happen when I'm waiting on God. Here's what I've learned....
Life is messy.
To be honest, it's one of my lessons from this year. Life doesn't fit into a box. There are not neat little categories for the things we experience. Life is not a math equation. If we do this + that, we will have what we want or need. Nope. Life is about coloring outside the lines. Life is not about perfection, it's about being real. And when we're scared or anxious or worried, we can make a mess. Not because we love a mess, but because we feel better doing something than waiting. Waiting from a word from the Lord. Waiting for a next step. Waiting for it to all make sense. And so we act and we make a mess. Own it. Appreciate it. Making a mess is part of the journey where we learn about ourselves, God, and others.
God cares more about you than He cares about your mess.
The next day, my friend and I were leaving my house and she remarked that I was taking the mess of a broken chair and chewed up wire quite well. I was annoyed at my dog. But my dog and I have had a relationship for 9 years. The chair and I have no relationship except for the fact that it's comfy to sit in. In God's economy, people are more important than messes. He loves you more than your mess. And whether your mess is your own doing or someone else's doing, God does His best work when life is too messy to figure out. When you don't know how you're going to fix this, God does. My word for the year has been nonsense - a year when God is asking me to do things out of the ordinary and don't make sense. You know what goes along with nonsense? Trust. Will I simply trust that in the middle of all my messes God is at work and making all things new?
Become friends with your mess.
I was at my coaching class recently. Our leader/teacher read a children's book called What Do You Do With An Idea? In the book a little boy has an idea that he's not so sure about. But the idea follows him and soon he becomes friends with the idea. I had never thought about becoming friends with my ideas. i had never thought about becoming friends with a lot of things. What would it look like for us to become friends with our mess? You know, embrace where we are - imperfections and all. To embrace who we are even if we're still arriving. To be okay that our life is a little messy. To be okay that we don't have it all figured out or that mistakes are on the horizon.
The chair is still broken. We're living with the mess here. Moose's kennel gets put in the center of the room when I leave (so he can't touch anything through the bars) and I have a foot stool that I use to recline. You know what? I've learned that it's possible to live with the broken and the messy.
When I was teaching Bible study regularly, I used to do this illustration with a southwest candle holder. It was made of clay and had a few "cracks" in it's side. You put the votive in the clay candle holder and you can't see the light. Except for where the cracks are. My point: God does His best works through our cracks. Through our mess. God works best when we stop trying to fix and arrange and figure it out, and let him shine through our realities. God does His best work when we stop striving and learn to just be in His presence.
One foot faith is about embracing mess. Life is messy. We are messy. As we put one foot in the water and trust Him with the mess, we find freedom and joy in the midst of everyday life.