Monday, March 10, 2014

Embracing the Mess

Every time we drive through San Francisco, I think "this street would make such a pretty picture without all those cables & power lines."  All the colorful houses, busy streets, & cloudy skies are so pretty...& then there's all that mess of cables.  I've even wondered if I could possibly edit them out...

As I was beginning to have the same thoughts yesterday, it hit me.  This is what we do with our lives.  We try to hide what's not pretty.  We try to cover it up & pretend it's not there.  If we don't think about it, don't talk about it, & certainly don't draw attention to it, maybe it will go away.  But that's not how life works.  We have to embrace the mess.

Life is messy.  It's full of mistakes & brash words & missed appointments & spilled coffee & bad hair days.  But then there's grace.  And that grace opens our eyes to such undeniable beauty.  Life is full of mistakes, but then there's forgiveness.  And brash words, with time, can be replaced by encouraging ones.  Missed appointments can be made up.  And as for spilled coffee & bad hair days, sometimes those just happen & there's nothing you can do about it.  But why do we try to hide these things instead of just embracing the fact that life is messy?

I took these pictures, & then bumped up the contrast.  Instead of trying to hide the mess, I made it stand out.  It's real, it's there, it's true...why not just embrace it? 

As a culture, in trying to present the best part of ourselves, we often present something that's false.  The Church is just as guilty of this as anyone else, maybe even more so.  Just because we have Jesus does not mean we go through each day as if it's a musical.  Be real with people.  Let them see the mess.  We might just find that embracing our own mess, we find others with the same messes, & there we build community.  Instead of trying to hide what's not pretty, why not just accept the grace that covers it?

The beauty of the Gospel is not that God overlooked our sin because we hid it so well.  It's that He saw our sin & He made provision for that.  He put on skin & came down into the mess we made.  To me, that's like Jesus picking up a pile of dirty laundry & putting it on, & saying "that's okay, I'll take care of this."

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