“Come messy”, That’s what I read right before I closed the book for the night. I took a photo of the words and tweeted them out to anyone who might need encouragement like that–because honestly, more than I care to admit, I do. I seem to need constant reassurance that my cluttered heart, and my messy emotions are ok to bring before God.
I remind my children all of the time, that God sees everything–that there’s no place they can hide from Him and how that fact shouldn’t be scary, but instead ought to be a comfort. But when it comes to my own messy parts, well, suddenly, I’m not so sure anymore. The vulnerability of that scares me. I’ve lived seasons of hiding from God. (It doesn’t work, by the way.) I struggle to get it together enough to find grace in His presence, and I’ve struggled to pray in a way that would please Him–whatever that might look like.
My mind wanders during prayer; I build grocery lists and task charts, and run down the overwhelming list of upcoming calendar appointments. I doze off from exhaustion and wake frustrated that I fell asleep during my prayer time–again. I sometimes feel as if I have to hide this soul-weariness from God. Or worse, I put off coming to Him until I feel less weary. I’m a mess. I forget the words of the 68 Psalm,
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah (Psalm 68:19)
He bares our burdens, that’s amazing! When I stop trying so hard, when I stop sucking it in, and admit that there’s a bit more there than I’m pretending there is, those are the times when I feel God’s presence the most. God can handle messy. He can handle my messy, and your messy. So we can stop pretending that we have it all together. God gets it. He knows. He sees–and He is capable.
Have you ever worn those constricting undergarments designed to streamline your silhouette, you know the ones that you stuff yourself into like a sausage that make you look so svelte in that one dress, but by the end of the night you can barely breathe? That’s what this pretending feels like, doesn’t it? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just carry on, and please, do not tell me in the comments that you have never needed such under-garments before.)
Here’s what I fail to remember, the stuff that I’m hiding, the struggles that I don’t want to come to God with, those are precisely the things He’s waiting for me to hand over, because He cares for me:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1Peter 5:7)
The truth is, He is far more capable of handling my mess than I am. So lets you and me come messy. Lets go to our closet and get on our faces and get real with God. Take off the suffocating spandex and let God hold all our imperfections with the tenderness of His mercy. The vulnerability of a soul splayed out before the Lord is absolutely breathtaking.
“Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NASB) The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy. Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life