Life isn’t like a book. Life isn’t logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess – Charles C. Colton
It is one of those days that will be forever etched into my memory. I had gone upstairs to discover that my then four-year-old had had a silent tantrum and in mere minutes, destroyed the room she shared with her sister.
The mess struck a chord with me. It felt like a metaphor for my life. Five months earlier, my life had been mostly neat and tidy and I had felt relatively in control. Circumstances had since ripped this façade away from me, exposing the shadowy mess that had been lurking in the depths of my heart.
As I spent the next hour sorting and returning everything to its rightful place, God reminded me that mess is not always bad. It can compel us to clean-up, to get rid of rubbish and re-arrange what we have decided to keep. And as we sort through the mess, we ultimately discover truth.
In John 8:32, Jesus said, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” While the journey of unveiling truth is seldom neat, tidy or predictable, when we find it, it ultimately brings us freedom. I had been fighting against anything that exposed my weaknesses or left me vulnerable, and the result was a curated life on the outside that was not replicated on the inside. Inside I was stuck in a cage of perfectionist control and keeping up appearances.
But God is not afraid of mess and His heart is to move us from the outward appearance of goodness and wholeness to that being our actual internal reality. He wants to set us free.
I threw some pretty epic tantrums myself in that season, and as God helped me to clean up the aftermath, I realised my own need for a Saviour; for the One who is THE TRUTH, whose grace is enough, who is strong when I am weak and who loves me completely - even on the days when it is all a mess. And the truth of my need was the doorway to wholeness and freedom.
If you are in a messy season, can I encourage you today not to fear it. Instead, partner with God to clean it up. Let Him shine His light and love into the depths of your heart and set you free.