I often marvel at the messes my 18-month-old is capable of making. As with any toddler, it seems she makes a mess of everything she touches.
Jesus knew that we could learn a lot from children (Matt. 18), and with six years of motherhood under my belt, I’m beginning to see why.
Take messes, for instance.
For years I made it my goal to avoid them; keep clear of mistakes; evade embarrassment, shame, and frustration at all cost.
This fear of making a mess has caused me to agonize over decisions, and always opt for the safest routes, even when I knew that God was challenging me to a more difficult course.
Observing my daughter, recently, has changed my perspective on messes.
She makes a mess of her knees as she navigates new, uneven terrain.
She makes a mess of her chubby cheeks as she learns to feed herself.
She makes a mess on paper as she masters control of the tiny muscles that will allow her to, one day, create beautiful art from words, colors or writing instruments.
Children don’t shy away from messes. To them they’re just a natural part of life— they even seem to relish in them.
While we wouldn’t fault a toddler for spilling a cup of juice, how many times do we berate ourselves for our own, unintended blunders?
As mothers, we often feel like we are “messing up,” because the call of motherhood takes us beyond our knowledge, experience and abilities, causing us to stretch and grow at each new stage and season.
Somewhere down the road of life, most of us have determined that messes are bad and to be avoided at all cost, making our goal nothing more than living a faultless and pristine life. We give up dreams, adventures and what could be for what is clean and comfortable.
The truth is that God is not put off by your faults and shortcomings. Thumb through the pages of your Bible. Read the stories of Moses, David, Paul and others, and I think you, too, will conclude that God has never been one to mind a mess. In fact, the Word says that our weaknesses make way for His strength to be all the more evident in our lives (2 Cor 12:9).
We could make the conscious choice to sit still, and attempt to maintain a bubble of perfection, but we would never experience all that God has for us.
Ladies, it’s time for a mental shift. Our messes are not messages that tell the world how incapable and unworthy we are, rather they are an indication of the fact that we are becoming.
In short: messes don’t dictate our worth— they indicate our growth.
In what area of your life do you feel like you’re making a mess? Pour out your heart before God, and allow Him to show you His strength through it all. Give yourself grace in the growing process.
Is fear of failure blocking you from the path God has pointed you towards? Rest assured that, not unlike our children, the journey to growth will be dotted with messes, but nothing can put a stop to the incredible future God has prepared for you.
Let’s remember today that in order to be used greatly of God, we must say “so long” to our comfort zones and “yes” to the mess.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses… For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Father, thank you that you love and accept me, messes and all. Forgive me for the times I have chosen to sit in my bubble of perfection, instead of embracing your call on my life. Thank you that you are able to redeem every missed opportunity, and every mess. Help me to give myself the gift of grace as I grow more like you along the journey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.