In Others’ Words: It’s a Mess


One of the great truths that I’ve embraced is that life is messy. Really, really messy.

And I’m okay with that.

When I say I’m okay with life being messy, I don’t mean I like the messiness of life. Not at all. What I mean is I’ve stopped pretending life isn’t messy … that life doesn’t hurt … that things don’t get way out of my control …

More times than I care to admit, I am confounded by my circumstances or someone else’s circumstances.

Life is messy.

I used to find myself in the midst of a crazy situation — a problem, a conflict, an emotional conundrum — and I would think to myself: Just give me a minute and I’ll figure this all out. I knew I could fix the situation. Clean up the mess.

Sometimes I could. And then there were so many times I couldn’t.

Remember the lyrics to the children’s song about going on a lion hunt?

Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it.

Sometimes there’s no fixing the mess. All you can do is admit there is a mess — and go through it. 

Here’s the funny thing: This whole “Life is messy” reality? It’s the hard truth that guides me as I write my stories. I believe life is messy … and that God steps into our messiness. That He doesn’t leave us here in all our mess, saying “Good luck with all that.” No, He offers us grace and hope and escape. That’s why Colossians 1:13 (NASB) is one of my life verses:

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son …

In Your Words: “Life is messy” is one of the great truths I’ve embraced. Do you believe life is messy? Why or why not? What’s a great truth in your life? 

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  1. Gail Hollingsworth
    September 8, 2016, 6:48 am   /  Reply

    Life is definitely messy Beth. And God DOES give us more than we can handle so that we will ask Him for His help. And right now I’ve been doing an extra lot of talking to Him. My FIL is in the hospital with heart blockage that can’t be “fixed”. He’s 93 but still we don’t want to lose him. Physical death and aging all because of sin.

    • September 8, 2016, 11:35 am   /  Reply

      I agree that God does give us more than we can handle. I’ve never liked that saying that God will never give us more than we can handle — that’s just not the truth. Not sure how that thought got started, but He wants us to admit we can’t do it in our on strength and come to Him for comfort, for mercy, for His strength. Praying for you and your father-in-law.

  2. September 8, 2016, 9:57 am   /  Reply

    I never really saw life as messy because I didn’t expect it to be anything else; in that really overused platitude, it is what it is.

    I guess my great truth is that man was not meant to eat oysters. Beyond that, it’s all still a mystery.

    • September 8, 2016, 11:38 am   /  Reply

      Oh, Andrew, of course you’re going to find humor in any situation.
      I’m not sure I buy the “it is what it is” platitude. For me, it’s more “It is what it is … now, where is God in this?” Or maybe even, “It is what it is … and what am I supposed to learn in this?”

  3. Anne Payne
    September 9, 2016, 1:21 pm   /  Reply

    Life is messy, yes. But with God, all things are possible, even navigating the ‘messy’ waters of life. Here’s a good explanation of the saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle” from Pastor John Piper —

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