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It’s all messy, all the time.
Do you feel as if everything is just a big cluster?!? Life just seems to continue down a path of messiness and disorder. Yeah, Happy New Year, right? Is this still 2020? In all honesty, I am trying to fight this trend, which is just a negative view of life and “things” in general.
I don’t know where you stand or what your current state of mind is, but the start of any year is a fresh beginning. A time where many people typically reflect on the past, contemplate the future, and pray about concerns, hopes, and dreams. For over a decade, I have come up with a word or words for the year (list). My inspiration came from Chris Brogan in 2009. Since 2020, much of the focus, including mine, has been anything that is different than the chaos of 2020. We’re all looking for peace, rest, sanity, health, basically the things that seemed beyond our reach in 2020. This meme pretty much sums it all up:
Leading up to 2020, life appeared to be good, normal even. Since then, many will say it’s all been sh*@% show. But is this really the truth? I do not want to deny some of the real challenges in the past few years. Heck, a global pandemic is not something to take lightly. We’ve seen more than enough loss, disunity, fighting, and strife. But if we take a wider look at history and get a glimpse way past our lifetime and even centuries before, haven’t similar things occurred over and over again? The truth is that life is pretty messy and has always been.
At the start of this new year, I am going through the Gospels again. I’m following the BEMA Podcast and Marty Solomon through Matthew (Episode 89: Written in the Stars.) I came across this recently, which is actually a common reading for most during the Christmas season. Marty put it this way:
“We rob the Christmas story of it’s messiness. It’s ripe with tension. This was a cultural disaster in its time.”
In today’s culture, the birth of Jesus finds itself with a narrative that might not be very accurate. We take this celebration of His life and want to turn it into all things perfect. We want the perfect family situation for our own Christmas celebrations. We want the tidy and nice Instagram pics highlighting the decor, the family picture, or whatever else we had in mind. We want to remove and question the messy and imperfect situations when they arise.
I suppose this isn't anything new. We read or hear about the studies on how social media is impacting our culture. The perfect and beautiful images flood our “feed” as we scroll through them, yet that doesn’t match our lives. This has caused and continues to cause significant issues among our youth and young adults. In reality, I have to imagine it’s causing issues through the developed world.
"People are messy; therefore, relationships will be messy. Don`t be surprised by the messiness." - Timothy Keller
My word of the year is disciple, or Talmidim if you speak Hebrew. It has become crystal clear to me that something is shifting and changing, and God is up to something new in me. I wrote a little about this in my previous dispatch. What I have interpreted this to be for now is drawing closer and closer to Jesus, fully stepping into the next phase of my walk with him, and simply being His disciple and growing in this area. If you have done any study around Jesus and His disciples, nothing stays the same if you choose to truly follow Jesus. NOTHING! This on every level is exciting and scary all at the same time.
“If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.” - John Mark Comer
You may be wondering what the word disciple has to do with all this messiness. Well, allow me to expound. Jesus was born directly into the messiness, He walked with the “messy” people, and He ultimately brought peace into our chaotic, messy world. It can be pretty easy to see through a lens that highlights all the messiness and just passively desire that everything gets better. Jesus was not passive, and His disciples were not passive. Maybe, just maybe, our walking with Jesus everyday is bringing a sliver of the Kingdom of God to the mess. What if our version of being human could bring just a little order, peace, and beauty to the mess? And I wonder if the goal is not removing the mess or even desiring for the mess to be gone, but it is just to learn to be more like the human that Jesus was in the middle of the mess and to trust that He is Lord over the beautiful things in this world and the not-so-beautiful things in this world.
“Jesus came as a human being not to teach us how to go to heaven, but to how to be a fully alive human being here on this earth.” - Richard Rohr
So, as we go into this brand new year that has started off pretty messy, may we have the appropriate perspective—not just for 2022 but for every year after. I desire to shift any of my own thoughts, prayers, or focus away from desiring less mess and more about my ability to navigate and live through the mess more like Jesus. May we remember that Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have life to the full. This life Jesus was talking about is our life right now!
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