Friday, February 03, 2012


I hate messes. I can tolerate them for awhile, but then something in me snaps and I go into a flurry of cleaning. I have even, at times, thought I would enjoy being a cleaning lady for someone. I find great satisfaction in tidy, sanitized spaces.

Right now my heart feels like a mess, and I'm at a loss to know how to tidy it up. For the last few months I feel like God has come in and stirred things up and opened doors and pulled back the covers and generally left everything in disarray. So I'm left standing in the middle of it, looking around at the chaos thinking, "That's the last time I invite that guy over."

The mess has a lot to do with seeing deeper levels of my depravity, the ways I look for life apart from God. It's also seeing the hurt I cause and the hurt done to me, and how rather than letting myself acknowledge the hurt I find other ways to medicate or distract or numb myself. It's feeling as Paul said, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep doing."

On the one hand, it's discouraging to see things I thought had died, places where I thought I had grown, still alive and well. On the other hand, I have grown, and God has changed the way I see myself and Him in seismic ways. It's not that haven't grown, it's that I'm not done. This is His doing, His way of moving into a deeper experience of Him.

This mess feels like realizing that what satisfied my heart in the shallow end of the pool doesn't work as well when God picks me up and throws me into deeper waters. So while I know that God deeply loves and accepts my mess, and part of the issue is that I don't, just to tell myself that and move on won't cut it this time. To do so would be like me throwing all the mess in a closet and shutting the door.

So what do I do with this mess? I keep asking God that. And I think He smiles gently and says, "Wait" because maybe instead of getting through the mess I need to learn to be in it. Maybe staying here means taking a harder look at what's behind it, why I do what I do. Maybe it's making me feel the depth of my nothingness before Him and the corresponding depths of His unrelenting love. Maybe it's so that I can show people my mess a little, like I did last night with some good friends, and feel the strength and comfort and love that we can give each other when we say, as they did, "I love you in your mess."

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