Bless This Mess

Posted on Feb 01, 2023 by Jenny Bender

Oh, how badly I would LOVE to tell you that I’m an inherently tidy person whose house is always company-ready with nothing out of place. But...we all know that lying is a no-no, embarrassing as this is, I’m just going to tell it like it is: I’m messy. Always have been. I can remember my Mom helping me clean my room as a kid and I LOVED how nice it looked & felt, with everything in its proper place. Without fail, though, a week or two later, it was back to looking like that scene in the movie Twister after an F5 tornado went through Wakita – and trying to clean it myself left me feeling a lot like Aunt Meg, buried under a bunch of rubble.  

As I got older and it became my own responsibility to keep my space neat, I tried – I really did – but I was never that person who maintained a home so tidy that I didn’t need at least a half hour heads up to speed-clean before anyone came over.  

Now that I’m grown, married and share a house with my husband, it’s become clear that some things never change. Last night, I looked around my bedroom and thought, “How in the world did it get like this?! I’m sure I just had it spic & span not that long ago!” Yet here I was, staring at a hamper of clothes that had been sitting at the foot of the bed for over two weeks, with more clothes now piled on top to the point that it was taller than the bed itself. Shoes were here, there and everywhere. My dresser was in total disarray with products strewn all over (I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as under the clutter I caught a glimpse of those cute storage containers, which I swore would help me get and STAY organized.)  

So, last night, I started the process of getting it all tidied up (again) because I’m a grown-up and that’s what grown-ups do. Staring at the mess, it felt so overwhelming and for a minute, I thought, “This is going to take forever, why even bother?”  But I rolled up my sleeves, put on a podcast (because that’s also what grown-ups do, right?) and got to work. It took nearly four hours, but little by little, the clothes got folded and put away, the shoes were returned to their spot on the rack, the junk on the dresser was either thrown away or put away and the makeup table got cleaned off (I almost forgot there was a white table underneath there!) Here’s the thing: that massive mess in my room didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow build of a bunch of little things that I didn’t pay attention to as it was accumulating: leaving one pair of shoes here, not putting this or that back in its drawer as I used it, etc.  

Isn’t it so much like that with sin and the spiritual messes in our lives? I don’t know about you, but I find that I usually don’t even realize that I’ve let myself slip away from closeness with God. Before you know it, one day without reading the Bible or taking time to pray & talk to God can turn into a week, then two or three...or longer. The next thing I know, I’m in a funk, wondering how I got into this mess. I know that God doesn’t leave (Joshua 1:9), so it had to be me who moved and lost focus on Him. Much like looking around at that messy room, I feel overwhelmed and suffocated by the pressures & stresses of life – and trying to handle it on my own puts me right back to feeling buried under burdens too heavy & hard to carry. 

I got my bedroom all cleaned and tidy last night. It looks (and feels) so much nicer and lighter when I walk into the room. I really hope that I can keep it clean this time – but that’s going to take a lot of effort on my part. I’m going to have to constantly keep myself in check: put the shoes on the rack as I take them off. Put the makeup back into the storage containers after I finish getting ready. Fold the clothes and put them away as soon they come out of the dryer. Is that going to be easy for me? Probably not (remember, I’m sort of a slob.) But will it be worth it? Absolutely. 

Staying in close connection with Jesus is going to take that same level of effort and attention. Did I take time to read some Scripture today? Was I intentional about putting the phone down and making time to talk & listen to God? Is that going to be easy for me, especially in a world SO full of constant distractions & things competing for our focus and attention? Probably not. But will it be worth it? Absolutely.  

Remember how I said that I almost didn’t even want to bother cleaning because I knew it would take a lot of time & effort? Don’t let the enemy convince you of that in your spiritual messes - ALL of us get into spiritual messes and find ourselves cluttered by sin in life sometimes. (Romans 3:23) What messes in life have you feeling suffocated, stressed out and overwhelmed? Is it more than you can clean up on your own? That’s okay!  

The truth is, there are some messes in life that we can’t clean up on our own...but a greater truth is that you’ll NEVER find yourself in a mess so big that Jesus can’t fully redeem and restore you & your situation. That mess in your marriage is no match for Jesus. That mess in your finances is no match for Jesus. That mess in your wayward child is no match for Jesus. That mess in relationships that have left you hurt & betrayed is no match for Jesus. The mess of chaos & confusion of our culture is no match for Jesus. That mess in your physical health – and your mental health – is no match for Jesus.  

My Mom used to tell me, “If I keep cleaning your room for you, then you’re going to keep depending on me to do it for you.” I get what she was saying – and I agree with it in the literal sense of cleaning an actual room. But when it comes to our spiritual messes, that’s not how it works. If you keep trying to clean it up on your own, you’re never going to learn to depend on Jesus to do what only He can do. Invite Jesus to step into the midst of your mess – He sees every detail of it. He knows everything that’s out of place and everything that needs to be cleansed and restored in your life – and He can do it!

Comments (4)

  1. Meghan Carter:
    Feb 02, 2023 at 07:39 PM


    Feb 06, 2023 at 04:44 PM


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