Transitions. Yikes. They can be messy. Remember graduating from High School? You feel all accomplished and ready to take on the world? And then you start a job, or you go to College, and zap, you are back in training wheels. Transitions are messy.
As depicted in the photo, a toddler learning to feed herself can be pretty messy. But do you see the message in the messy? The noodles around her eyes is a prophetic statement. In the middle of the mess, the little one got some new lenses and will never see the world the same again. Especially when she looks at Mommy’s face when she discovers the mess she has made.
I have grown to love messiness. A mess means there is life being lived. A mess means something is being created. A mess means there is a message.
At home, I am probably middle of the road messy. My work area is usually pretty cluttered as I have many projects going on at once. I call it organized chaos. Each pile has a purpose and I like to know it is there in eye view as needed. Filing happens occasionally. I am good with that. It means something is happening.
A sparkling clean kitchen makes me nervous. How does one be perfectly neat while creating a cuisine that is a work of art? Fred is one of those people. He banishes everyone from the kitchen on Thanksgiving so that by the time we sit down to eat, every bit of the kitchen is sparkling. Now I am afraid to get my plate dirty, fearful it will be removed prematurely to be cleaned. A bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean. Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, and I miss the messy times in the kitchen, bantering and enjoying making “the mess”, knowing it would get cleaned up afterwards. it was a family affair.
There is a message in our tolerance for messiness. Fred tends toward order and rules driven. It is hard to have fun when you are always worrying about making a mess. On the other hand, his craving neatness creates order that is healthy for the young ones and eliminates unnecessary chaos.
God is both messy and orderly. I am quite certain the universe was pretty messy until He put it into order. Each creation had a place and a name. There were rules and when broken, life in the garden got messy. He also made a big mess in the temple when he got mad at the business people selling their goods.
Maturing is messy as is immaturity. Life just is messy at times. But what a glorious message we get when the mess starts to be put in order. That playroom is much more inviting when the kids have put away their toys. I love having a clean kitchen to start out cooking in. While the preparation can get messy, I always feel more satisfied when the mess returns to a place of order. And I have walked into messy homes and wondered whether it was indicative of some sort of emotional clutter or dysfunction in the soul?
We have all done our analysis of hoarders. The TV show makes me cringe whenever I watch it. I understand it is a disorder, which is exactly what I am saying. There are extremes of messiness that need to be looked at so that disorder can be returned to order, even if it is organized chaos.
I measure my mental clarity by the messiness of my environment. When I am upset or depressed, the house really does get out of order. That tells me something in my life is out of order. Similarly, if I am picking on someone about the messes they leaves behind, something in me is out of order towards them. Is that messiness a message for me to put in order or to leave alone for the sake of peace? Nagging never really puts anything or anyone back in order and it often creates a messy relationship.
Yesterday, my husband was determined to clean up our back porch where we sit in the evening. It is also the place where the trunk that holds the bird food is stored, and the ground was covered in bird seed that had spilled when fillling the feeders. You see, my husband is legally blind and clearly can’t tell he is spilling. He is in a constant state of messiness for this reason. I am always having to check my attitude whenever he walks in the house with dirt falling off his clothes onto the recently swept kitchen floors. An abundance of rugs are at the entrance for this reason. Kindness in the face of his messiness is in order.
He wanted me to get him a little hand vac to vacuum up the spilled bird seed. Upon examining the level of mess, I knew it would take more than that to clean it up. The porch needs to be cleared out and a blower brought in. The mess had progressively accelerated to include dead leaves and saw dust. Yes, quite a mess, and not a place we would be entertaining from any time soon. So that has been put off for now. You have to have the right tools to clean up your mess. Not all of it can just be swept away.
Which brings me to my point. I have messy parts of my life that need cleaning up. Specifically, my words and my attitude can make a mess of relationships. My criticism can break someone’s spirit. My failure to communicate can make one feel unvalued.
The tools for conquering these are in the word of God. Phillippians 4:8 tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” And James 3:8 is a little tougher. 8 “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
Our only hope is to put ourselves under the control of the one true God who knows our weaknesses and our strengths. He wants command of our lives so that we can put our messes back in order, and bless our disorder with His message of love and kindness.