Yesterday at church we started a new series entitled, Address the Mess, and it got me thinking about a picture I posted recently on social media of our home on a typical Saturday morning. I got a lot of commentary on this picture when I posted it earlier, it resonated with folks which didn’t surprise me. If we’re totally honest with ourselves, in the words of my pastor, we’re all either in between messes or in the middle of a mess just waiting to be addressed. The most telling comment was from someone who thanked me for posting the picture, willing to display the true messiness of life sometimes. It seemed as if by my simply by embracing the messiness of my own life, it freed others up to acknowledge theirs and instead of judgement which typically runs rampant throughout social media, we extended grace to one another. Imagine that.
Grace is a powerful response to a mess. I think about the difference when I respond with grace to my kids with a mess they’ve made, versus how I respond with punishment. There’s a different level of receptiveness to feedback. Eventually, this also leads my kids to be willing to pro-actively own their messes, especially when they don’t fear retribution for their mistakes. When they know they can come to me and I won’t lose my cool or go over the top judgmental on them (how could you let this happen!), they do something surprising, they extend themselves grace for their mistakes while also owning them.
This got me thinking, I wonder how much time we waste trying to hide the mess in our lives, acting like they don’t exist rather than simply addressing the messes proactively, one at a time? We’re so afraid of what others will think if they find out about our messes, sometimes we fail to acknowledge real areas that need attention in our lives. But here’s the reality: we’re all in the same boat. Everybody’s got a few messes to attend to, so instead of ignoring them for fear of public condemnation let’s embrace the mess and receive the grace that comes to address the mess. You might find that it’s easier to clean up than you think.