Messy Spirituality


I’d never really heard that term until recently.  I think I like it…messy spirituality.  Not because it’s upbeat and positive, but because it’s real.  Lots of us, most of us, are messy.

We want to be whole, complete, perfect today.  We desire to have the answers to life and speak forth truth consistently.  Yet…we live in a mess.  This world is a mess.  And the things that hold us back are the messes we’ve internalized.  The tapes of our childhood, the abuse from a friend or loved one, the abandonment of a parent or spouse — we’ve let these things sink deep into our souls and it’s messy.

Some of us have chosen to numb our pain through addictions that give us a temporary high.  Alcohol, drugs, shopping, work, gambling, food, sex…we want to be numb to the pain.  We reach for anything that will take the hurt away for a time.

The “hole in the soul” cannot be filled with these things.  Until we understand what we’re doing to ourselves, until we get honest, we will not see change.

Please know, I am speaking to the believer and the unbeliever.  The only difference we have between us is a Savior.  I do know my sin was taken away at the cross.  I do know my life changed when I gave my heart to Jesus.  I do know my source of help and comfort is found in Him.

Do I still struggle?  Uh…yeah.  I’m still living in this messy world with messy people all around.  I’m a mess to some, and some are a mess to me.  So what do we do?

Grace, love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, patience…bear with one another.

It’s a good thing.

35 responses »

  1. You’re my new favorite Christian, Michelle, and that’s saying something, since I’m not a Christian. No offense. Believe me, there is none intended. But you strike me as a thinking person’s Christian. I’d love to hear more about your struggles. Your demons.

  2. Oops! I forgot to put in my info. Not that any of your readers will want to read MY blog. Trust me on this.

  3. I love that term… “hole in the soul.” I had a priest tell me once that every hole in our heart is God shaped. I love images like that.

  4. Well, hello, Forty or so. Thanks…? 😉 If you read past posts you may find some things that will reveal the pain in my life. But, honestly, I always try to bring it back to Jesus. I haven’t really found much help in telling others all I’ve dealt with — most of the time lots of judgment comes with the telling. Unconditional love and acceptance doesn’t come easy for most. So, I go to the One who gets it right…the safest place I’ve found is in Him.

    I do hope you come back and next time give your info. You may surprised how many of us are interested. 🙂

    Hey, Sara! I think your priest was right on. I’ve heard that many times myself. I find I struggle most when I try to fill it up with something other than God. That’s where most of us get stuck, I think. Just because we love Jesus doesn’t always mean we turn to Him first. That’s the process of relationship. Hope you’re doing well. 😉

  5. What a beautiful word of encouragement for someone (me) who was feeling just a tad messed up before reading!

  6. Hello, Hope. Thank you. Did you see my first post of the day? It’s below…thank you for speaking to me this morning. It helped. 😉

  7. Are we intended to be messy spiritually?

    We are all created with avoid, a vaccuum if you will…that nothing willl ever fill but Jesus. I don’t want messy spirituality…although like every one else I have my days, but its not what I was created for..we are created for the abundant life…there are still trials and sufferings, but ahhhhh soaring on wings like eagles!!

  8. It sure fits me, Ric. It’s not fun, mind you, but it’s real.

    Hey, Darla! I think as long as we live in this flesh it’s gonna be messy. I don’t think that means it will not get better and better. But, I do believe we will have many lows. I don’t want to stay there any longer than I have to, but sometimes I do. I do believe we’ll soar, forever, in the next life. I get glimpses of it now. I do have an abundant life…when I realize where it could be, the hell it COULD be…yeah, I’m living abundantly.

  9. Michelle: We all mess in our nest quite regular…does that count???? LOL

    Only when we see Him face to face will we not be messy…Daily I strive to have less of me, more of Him….Some days I think I’ve got it…til the next day….praise Him that it’s just not about us…

    Love you!

  10. Really needed to read this today Sis. Thank you. I think I understand what you mean by messy spirituality. It’s really another way of saying that we’re not righteous on our own. None of our works make us righteous. Our need for the Savior is so great its overwhelming and He reminds us of that frequently in our Christian walk.

    I am definitely messy. Especially right now. My post today talks about this. My mistakes uptil now has been in thinking that I’m not or thinking that somehow, becoming a Christian took the mess away. Yes, His blood does cleanse us and we are going to Heaven but we’re still caught in the mess as long as we’re here [as Debs said].

    Thank you for showing all those things [grace, mercy, compassion etc] towards me. I love you so much.

  11. Hey, Debs! It happens. And then we have to take it the One who can clean us up again. I’m thankful He’s gracious and merciful when others can be so harsh. Love you.

    Gch, I thought everything would be perfect after I became a Christian too. It was years of disillusionment before I realized He never promised that. He promised trials, temptations, trouble but we don’t need to be afraid. He knows exactly what we’re dealing with. He experienced life as a man — our High Priest passed through the heavens. He knows. He understands our limits. I love you, Gch, and I’m not going anywhere!

    Hello, Paul. Welcome. I believe Jesus is the Light of the world and we only see clearly through Him. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. i have noticed, since brent and i prayed together for God to move and shake us (dangerous prayer that it) that i am a spiritual mess. i am so undone. untidy. He has asked me to address this. its been hard. its been VERY humbling.

    but yes. i am a mess. i cant focus on someone else’s mess, that i know.

    but i love the “mess” out of you!

    that doesnt sound right.

  13. I am convinced that only “Christians” are interested in perfect humans. The world is quite interested in real. I love that you wrote this.

  14. Michelle,
    Love your beautiful soul and loving heart, your uplifting words that you’ve made an art.
    May God sort out our messes and continue to bless us through His son Jesus. May God give us peace through the comforter, the Holy Spirit.

  15. Yesterday I was thinking that I am messy but as I learn to surrender I start to be “God’s mess.” That’s much better.
    Good morning Michelle! 🙂

  16. HAHAHA! You’re right, Tam, that doesn’t sound right. I think it’s really great when we see our mess and know we need Him that much more. Praying for more of Him and whatever He has for us, yeah…dangerous indeed. I love you, TammyJo!

    Wow, Annie. I think you’re right. I’m glad you wrote that. Having grown up in the church, and one which teaches Christian perfection, I never really saw it that way. Thank you. 😉

    Coming from you, Sam, that is a great compliment. Thank you. You have displayed authenticity to me and I love you for it. And your prayer…amen. Love you.

  17. Good morning, Tracie! I didn’t see you there. I agree. At least with Him we have a chance at renewal, restoration. We’re not in this alone. I’m glad I’ve riding this train with you. 😉

  18. Are you reading my mind? Wow. This morning I realized I am riding the train too. Huh. Are we in the same box car? Today I need somebody to come in my box car even for a brief moment to tell me it will be okay… that I can do this. 😉

  19. You can, Tracie. You can do this. It will be OK. It does get better.

    He fills us up with a love that surpasses knowledge. It doesn’t really make sense, but it’s there…it’s available.

    This is my prayer for you…and me:

    I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

    ~Ephesians 3:16-19

    I love you, Tracie! Have a good day filled to fullness with His love. Let if flow from you to others…you CAN do this.

  20. Much thanks for coming to my boxcar 🙂

    Those were the exact words I needed.

    I love you, Michelle!

  21. Tracie, I knew you did. How? Because I needed the same words. Hope your day is going well. 😀

    Hey, Darla! I’m hanging in there. Hope to hear from you when you can. 😉

  22. If this has been said already in the comments then well… Sorry.

    This is a process. God is molding us and shaping us to his will. As we draw closer and closer to him he molds us to be more and more like his Son.

    Have you ever watch a master potter at his wheel. The mess gets all over him, and the clay is left perfect in form, ready to be hardened in the fire of the furnace. Our clay was made perfect, but the world left us lumpy and formless. God’s sent his Son to mold us and take on our mess to form us to be more like Him. Our faith is tested and hardened(in a good way) by the fire and trials of life.

    Isaiah 64:8
    Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

    Jeremiah 18:4
    But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

  23. “Our faith is tested and hardened(in a good way) by the fire and trials of life.”

    We have been saved…past tense.

    We are being saved…present tense.

    We will be saved…future tense.

    Three stages of salvation for the believer: We were regenerated (justification – born again), we are in a process of salvation (sanctification), and we will be in a perfected state after death (glorification).

    Yes, Carl, I see we are in a sanctifying work, a process of beautification, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit within.

    Good to see you back. 😉

  24. Three stages of salvation for the believer: We were regenerated (justification – born again), we are in a process of salvation (sanctification), and we will be in a perfected state after death (glorification).


  25. So did you hear this term because you have the book by the same title? If no, I recommend you get a copy – it’s by the late Mike Yaconelli – a truly inspiring and prophetic mess was he.

    ckroboth – don’t forget the praise stage – that’s magnification! 🙂

  26. Yes, actually, Bad. I picked up the book a few months ago. I had forgotten when I wrote the post about that being the title. I haven’t finished the book, but the first couple of chapters really struck a chord with me.

    I need to find it…under the stack of books I have yet to finish! What has blogging done to me?!?!??!

    A prophetic mess…I get that. 😯

  27. Thanks for posting that. Personally perfect people make me nervous.

    I think it is the messy parts of life that help us to need Jesus all the more.

  28. Three aspects of salvation expressed in relation to sin might be:

    We have been freed from the penalty of sin, we are free from the power of sin while we yet live, and we will be free from the very presence of sin when we are resurrected in glory.

  29. We have an amazing God who can clean up any mess we make and who loves us regardless of how messy we may be, no matter how many times we run backwards to roll around in the same old mud He brought us out of.

    Nice post.

  30. I agree, Brian. I’m so glad our God is able to do anything — more than we can even ask — He will keep us from falling and cause us to stand rejoicing in His presence. Thanks for commenting and welcome.

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