My life tends to be messy. It has almost always been that way. I have been told by a few that it is messier than what many people’s lives are and yet I know that is not as messy as others. Some of it is my own doing, consequences of my sin and bad choices. More of it is the fall out of the sin of other people in my life and a portion of it is just plain old circumstantial, a part of the journey.
For a very long time I have had this perception that life just isn’t suppose to look like this. I have thought that if I work hard enough to reach my goals and dreams, if I love God enough and am faithful to chase after Him, if I serve Him well then life will be far less messy, I would have everything I think I need and this journey would become easier. Because of things I experienced as a child, I have had it stuck in my head that it is all, always, my responsibility, if I don’t do this and that and all of the other things, life will always be this way with the next mess happening before the last one is ever cleaned up and it will be my fault when it does.
I never had the opportunity to learn how to just “be” as a child. An enormous amount of responsibility was thrust on me at an early age and as a result I have spent the majority of my life thinking that who I am is based on what I do instead of just being a child of God. Redeemed, rescued, saved by grace have never seemed like enough. Oh, I believe that my salvation is secure but I have struggled with the fear that all this mess is meaningless unless I turn it into something bright and shiny and magnificent to bring God glory. I strive to clean up all the messes and attempt to get it all together so that I will feel worthy enough to be who He created me to be. Responsibility has become a stronghold and an idol, one that I am in the process of tearing down by admitting my limitations, by recognizing that I am very hard on myself, by acknowledging it’s not even within my power to make something out of it all. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
I am also learning to accept that this IS life, it is challenging, it is messy and that is okay. It’s okay for me to acknowledge my hurts and disappointments, then carry them to my Father in Heaven and exchange them for His truth and promises, His strength and His grace. God does want me to do my part but my responsibility is not the planning, doing and trying to control that I have made it. Rather it’s the sitting, waiting and trusting that God really means for it to be.
God doesn’t intend for me, or for any of us, to do by works what He wants to accomplish by grace. He wants us to bring all of the pieces of our life to him, to surrender them and allow Him to do as He will with them. Maybe He will make something magnificent and breathtaking out of it for all to see. But maybe, sometimes the really magnificent thing is the healing that He brings to our own hearts when we learn to live where grace and responsibility overlap, when we learn how to just be His child who daily brings to Him the messes of our lives, not out of any agenda of our own, but out of trust and faith that whatever He does with it, His plan is perfect.