We sat on the seawall, the city behind us, the ocean in front and her words were soft, yet strong.
“Heather, it’s okay to be messy. Sometimes we need to get all the mess out before He can do something beautiful with it. It’s like you’re in a room with shelves along the wall and each shelf is lined with cans of paint. He wants to come and pull the cans down, spill the paint all over the floor. And as you sit together in the middle of the mess, He will create a picture more beautiful than anything you could’ve ever imagined. Not because you stayed in control, kept everything neat and tidy, but because you came totally undone.”
My tears rose like the tide, not because I thought she was wrong, but because I knew she was right.
I’ve never been comfortable with mess. I often avoid painting with my 2 and 4 year old because inevitably they end up with more paint on the table and chairs, their bodies and clothes, than on the paper. Our crafting sessions end with me shutting the whole thing down in frustration, and quickly working to clean up the mess.
And when life gets stressful, or conflict arises, I take it out on my house. My husband knows there’s trouble when I start reorganizing drawers or washing floors late at night.
The mess feels like chaos and I like control.
Admitting I’m a mess and that I don’t, in fact, have it all together, carries more shame for me than confessing my sin. I’d rather tell you that I struggle with anger or pride than admit how messy and out of control I’ve felt for the past 10 months.
But the more I let the paint spill, the more I’m beginning to see the beautiful masterpiece He is creating. Not because of how amazing I am, but because I’m giving my mess to Him.
Our mess can be our worship if we’ll only bring it to Him.1