The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Beautiful Mess



My "before I go to bed" read lately has been a book called, "Messy Spirituality." Though I am usually not a fan of non-fiction Christian literature because it somehow comes off to me as being cheesy and extreme, this book has spoken to my heart for some reason. Probably because the author admits from the start that he doesn't have it all together; that he has insecurities; that he somehow doesn't feel like an ambassador for change. This, in itself, was already a change from the previous authors I have read who take the stance of, "I'm perfect and you should model your life after me."

One of the first things he said that struck me was: "There is no room for pretending in the spiritual life … Pretending is the grease of modern non-relationships … But being real is the synonym for messy spirituality, because when we are real, our messiness is there for everyone to see." (pgs. 26-7)

This resonated with me because I find myself wanting to pretend like I have this thing called life down; that I am this pillar of the Christian faith and a perfect addition to society. Then, I go home at night and wonder what in the world I'm doing. The facade fades away and I wonder, "Am I really worthy? I mean, God knows who I really am. He sees past the smiling face at College Church and the A on the Bible test. He knows everything."

This is where the author's stance comes in:

"It turns out that what disqualifies you and me from “spirituality” – the mess of our lives and our crippledness – is what most qualifies us to be chosen by Jesus… Some of us actually believe that until we choose the correct way to live, we aren’t chooseable, that until we clean up the mess, Jesus won’t have anything to do with us. The opposite is true. Until we admit we are a mess, Jesus won’t have anything to do with us." (pg. 37)

Isn't that comforting to know? That, while God wants us to live a righteous life, he chooses us before the process is even complete--or started for that matter.

I mean, just think about the people he chose in the Bible. David himself, after all he had done, was a man after God's own heart. Peter denied Jesus. He brought the crippled, the blind, the hurting to his side constantly. Jesus washed Judas' feet, while rebuking religious leaders. Rahab, a prostitute, was part of the lineage of Christ. The list goes on and on.

I feel like once we admit our weakness and address our "messiness," we can start to make the difference we want to see in the world. People don't walk into our church doors to see perfect people; they come to feel accepted, to be forgiven, to be loved by you-- and a God who takes them in despite their brokenness.

As the author writes, "Spirituality isn’t about being finished and perfect; spirituality is about trusting God in our unfinishedness." (pg.29)

It's all about the trust for me. I have a hard time seeing how God can use someone like me; especially since he can see what I view in the mirror every day. But that's just it-- he doesn't see that reflection.

I see an unfinished masterpiece. A painting that was left halfway through. A mess, if you will.

He sees a work of art; and he turns the splashes of paint, the harsh lines, the mistakes and fashions it into a glorious thing to be admired.
...a beautiful mess.

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