I love to entertain during the holidays but when I do, it’s like a tornado went through my kitchen. I used to have a big kitchen back in Florida with plenty of room to do everything. It was still a mess, but a more spread out mess. Today, I live near Atlanta and we have a big house with a small kitchen. I know, woe is me.
My point is , I’m a messy, especially when I cook. Kitchen utensils are pulled out of drawers, dirty bowls and dishes pile up, cabinet doors are left open and crumbs cover the floor. In short, it’s a mess.
Now you wouldn’t know this if you just went by my Instagram feed. All you see there is the finished photo, staged, lit and edited. But the truth is, my lovely little photo was preceded by quite the mess! And the mess is a metaphor for life, mine at least!
Because, face it, life is messy. We want it all Instagram perfect and Pinterest pretty but it rarely is.
Raising kids is messy. The holiday photo of everyone scrubbed and shiny, all matching sweaters and perfect hair-bows doesn’t show the breakdown just before the shot when brother teased sister and she burst into tears.
Or the adorable school photo of the one who drives you to distraction as you try your hardest to get her to sleep night after night.
As you raise kids, you learn that changing them, feeding them, potty training them, disciplining them - all are messy. Sometimes motherhood seems like moving from one mess to the next with a bottle of Lysol in one hand and a stick-vac in the other!
On the positive side, a mess means someone is there. You may have to clean up after them but you’re not alone. Messes mean life, real life, is happening and you’re a part of it. We don’t like cleaning up messes but let them remind you, someone is there.
Relationships are messy. People do things for the weirdest reasons and expect you to just be okay with it. Sometimes they don’t keep their word or honor their commitments and it gets messy and complex. Divorces happen, friends betray or gossip or you lose your job.
So How to Deal with the Mess ?
Life is hard and it’s messy but Jesus came into this world, messy just like us. It wasn’t all perfect in the manger, believe me. Birth is sweaty, wet and bloody and babies take work to birth. And it was in a manger-an animal stall, not the cleanest place and I imagine it stunk like animals do.
Jesus entered our mess as our Mess-iah. He could’ve come any old way He chose but He chose to come messy into our mess.
This is what I hold onto: Jesus knows it’s messy. He came right down into our mess and showed us a way to clean it up. He knew it was a mess when He said,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you....”Matthew 5:43-44
He knew people would be enemies, they’d curse you, sometimes hate you and spitefully use you. It wasn’t an if, it was a when. And we’ve all dealt with messes. But He gives us a way to overcome it. He tells us to love, bless, do good and pray. It goes against every fiber of our being. But it’s the only way to clean up the mess.
He came into the world messy and He went out a bloody, crucified mess and took our mess with Him. Our task is to remember what He taught us and live it out every day. In our marriages, families, jobs and relationships.
Even when things get messy.
How are you inviting Him into your mess? How can I pray for you?