Welcome to My Messy

My life is messy. Let me just start today by putting the truth out there. Of course, you wouldn’t know my life is messy just by looking at me. Like all of us, I know how to keep going in hard times and I cope when I need to. I used to guard the truth of my life, and I would continually makeover appearances of my exterior life so people wouldn’t ask questions about my internal struggles. Although not everyone goes to extreme lengths to conceal what they fear might look “off,” most of us don’t want others to see our behind-the-scenes messy truth.

Since I’m being honest about my messy, let me ask you…

Do you ever avoid talking to people––even your closest confidants––because you really don’t want to share what’s going on behind the scenes in your life? It’s hard enough being real with friends in our “normal” chaos. But under waves of fear or doubt, we don’t know if we should stand on our own or cry out for help. And sometimes that demeaning voice whispers in our ear, “You’re not good enough” or “Your problems aren’t as significant as what others are dealing with.” So we justify our decision not to “bother” anyone else with our struggles.

Whether we recognize it or not, we live in a constant battle for self-worth, fighting against isolation.

In order to inter-lock shields of faith and take an anti-isolation stand, my friend Elizabeth and I have a monthly “first Monday” date for sisterhood prayer and praise. Though we text, talk, and email regularly, first Mondays align and empower us as we seek Jesus and His will. Elizabeth remains the greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known, and we’ve walked this journey of life together for almost ten years. But…

On first Monday a couple of weeks ago, Elizabeth and I were texting confirmation of the when and where. We both have been under tremendous stress with craziness all around. Elizabeth said she wasn’t feeling well, but I told her I’d really like to see her if she was up to it. Then she texted, “I hate to show up like a hot mess! I’m trying hard to get it together. I don’t want to be a burden.”

My response: “You’re not a burden and the whole reason we get together is to join in prayer.” She said she’d come by, but she promised not to stay long.

As we sat side-by-side a few hours later, Elizabeth shared the burdens wearing her out. One by one she laid down her load of heavy work bundles, packs of personal challenges, and discouraging harnesses on her health. From the releasing of this cumbersome weight sprang peace and freedom. And then my precious friend confided, “I didn’t want you to see my mess.” What?! Does she remember who she’s talking to? The words flowed quickly from my lips:

“Are you kidding? Welcome to my messy! My life is full of mess, and you and your mess are ALWAYS welcome here with me!” And I proceeded to take my turn in off-loading the bundles and packs and harnesses of my messy life.

Friends, we all have messy. Sometimes our messy extends from overloaded schedules and responsibilities, and sometimes its rooted in shame, fear, doubt, or comparison. We struggle with keeping enough order in our life so we still qualify as “normal.” But there’s no such thing as normal! Don't fear the messy places in life. We shouldn’t pretend our messy doesn’t exist or get caught up in overcompensating for it. What can we do with our messy?

Acknowledge it.

Accept it.

Address it––by sharing it with a trusted confidant who will help us navigate the murky waters of messy.   

Thankfully we’re not defined by what people see or the degree of messy we experience. Our self-worth comes solely through Christ’s love for us and our identity in Him, both of which are perfect and priceless. These transcend our messy and allow us to find strength, purpose, hope, and transformation as we walk our spiritual journey with God and others.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, “Abba, Father.” For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.  (Romans 8:14–17 NLT)

Despite your messy, you are God’s beloved child. Press into Jesus with your messy, and intentionally step closer today to at least one friend with whom you can be transparent. Real life requires real relationships. I pray you'll encourage others and invite them into your journey with: “Welcome to my messy!”

Dr. Joy Dahl is a Jesus girl transformed by God’s grace. Through many trials she has learned to rise above the depths of real life by holding fast to truth and hope. Today Joy passionately helps believers embrace their calling as Christ’s ambassadors in the world. As a CPA and a Chief Financial Officer by trade, Joy has focused most of her career on start-up and high-growth companies in Washington DC, New York, and Texas. Joy earned three degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary: Master of Christian Education, Master of Biblical Studies, and Doctor of Ministry. Joy is the visionary behind the BOLDLY Conference (www.boldlyconference.com)––the first-of-it’s kind Faith + Work for Women Conference. Integration of faith and work remains the foundation and emphasis of her work and teaching. Joy and her husband, Gordon, call Dallas home. Joy’s favorite things include: God’s Word, international travel, dark chocolate, horses, flowers, beach getaways, running, big dogs, and adventure!