Making Friends with Mess


2019 is here.  Now what? I love all the potential that a New Year promises, but if I’m going to be transparent it can feel overwhelming as well.  There are so many options and opportunities that await in this year. To think of all of them can leave you feeling exhausted even before you begin.  With that in mind this month we are going to explore what it means to “make friends with mess.” What do I mean by that?

Well, in an insta-filtered culture it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing our lives have to look a certain way, happen on a certain timeline, or go down a certain path that simply is unrealistic. Life is not that neat and tidy.  Perhaps you have been like me and have been frustrated and discouraged with the messiness that has come to the surface in your life. It can make you feel as though you’re doomed to failure or destined for mediocrity. That simply is not true. Just like the creative process requires a mess before the masterpiece is revealed our lives are much the same. The growth process is a messy one. Instead of trying to keep the process neat and organized, I think our energy and effort is best spent focused on the heart of the matter not what is seen from the outside in the midst of the process.

What I want to propose to you is that the mess in fact is the blessing.  It is the mess that commands our attention and directs us to deal with the issues that arise so we can move forward, grow and progress onto the next thing.  Choosing to see mess as an evil thing actually can be detrimental to your health. Think about it, mess actually isn’t a bad thing but a sign and signature of health. Let me give you a few examples:

As a baby, you’d be considered unhealthy if you didn’t create mess (puke, pee, and poop).  It’s part of that development stage and not just natural, the mess is a sign that all systems are working as intended.

As a toddler, as you’re learning to play and discovering all the wonders of the world around you, you make a mess of your toys, the pillows on your couch, basically anything you can get your hands on.  The mess is part of exploring, discovering, and learning. It can even be a sign of your creativity in its earliest forms.

When you’re a child and asked to clean up , it always gets messier before things get organized.  You have to pull out all the dirt, all the unorganized items, sort, and then store or dispose of them appropriately.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. We are built to tackle whatever messes life brings to us, or those that we create ourselves.  They are most of the time not a bad thing, but a part of the growth process.

Throughout the rest of this month we will dive into some of the questions I’ve had about the process of growth together.  I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I think diving in and exploring these questions, along with the direction and counsel of God and the wise people in your life, is what will make navigating the process all the smoother.

The questions I want to propose to you and are:

How do you know you’re growing and is it in the right direction ?

How do you keep your focus on progress not perfection?

What can trap you from progress?

What is the cost of growth?  What am I getting myself into?

My prayer is that if you go on this journey with me, you will not be immune to the turbulence that life’s messes throw at us, but that keep advancing through them without being intimidated by their size or severity.  That no matter what you face you know that you face it because you are built for victory through our Lord Jesus.

Happy New Year!