The past three weeks I’ve fallen down the Netflix rabbit hole, in case you’re wondering why I’ve neglected this space. Or everything except twitter. I’m alive now, though– if only because i (finally!) finished the first season of Jane the Virgin. And despite starting the second season (ugh this show is addicting!), I decided I needed to step away from the TV for a bit. I’ve neglected Advent and everything around me for it!
In doing so, I’ve been working through Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey, which is a miracle of a book for my life right now. It’s so beautifully written– Sarah is so down-to-earth and light-heartedly witty, it’s like sitting at a coffeeshop with her drinking a cuppa like the awesome Canadian she is. I’ve been trying to go one chapter at a time to give me time to work through the study questions (because this book needs some serious thought unpacking). But lately I’ve been too distracted, so I’ve been going through piece by piece, and saving the journaling for a time where I can be more present. Last night (rather 2:30am), I got to her chapter about church before going to bed. She was talking about the different types of ‘churches’ when I got to a part that stopped me in my tracks.
“Jesus has become real to me, and so I can’t pretend anymore that I am not just as much of a mess as everyone else. In fact, the freedom I am finding is exactly that: I learning alongside the girls of the residential home that I’m a mess and I’m beloved, both together, and this is not the end.”
I am a mess. I am beloved.
I used to think I was either/or. I couldn’t be loved when I was a mess. With my life in shambles, with all my flaws and imperfections out in the open. I had to keep that side of me closed off, and let people see and love the good parts only. I had to be perfect– I couldn’t let the facade of imperfection down if I wanted people to love me. So I hid the ugly stuff as best as I could (and didn’t always do a good job). I tried not to let the bad traits and flaws show through the cracks– and I left my baggage out of my conversations (which backfired royally).
Living with only part of yourself is an awful way to live. I know from experience. You deserve to be your whole self- and you deserve to be and know you’re loved wholly and fully.
We all deserve to be fully known and fully loved. Despite our messes and baggage.
We all deserve other people to see all of us, and love us anyway. To see our flaws and baggage and love us still.
We all need people to love us back to life in the midst of our mess.
I don’t need people to just see the good– I need people to walk through with me in the bad. I need people to see the mess and say they love me for it.
It’s taken me a long time to truly believe I can be loved for myself, warts and all. I don’t need to put on a show for love– I already am. By both God, and the people in my life that walk with me through the mess.
I need to believe that I can be a mess and be beloved, in spite of only the flaws I see.
Easier said than done, most days.
Have you ever had a day where you can’t stop thinking about your flaws? Or about all the messes in your life? I’m there more days than I’d like to count. I’ve been there the past few days especially, thinking about how many mistakes I’ve made, all the life changes I’ve made lately, all the things I’m bad at, all my flaws and bad character traits that come into the limelight… I’ve never felt more like a burden in my life as i have lately, truthfully. Some days all I can see is the mess I’ve made, the flaws I have.
It’s on those days when it’s hard for these two truths to coincide. How can I be beloved when I have XYZ flaws? How can anyone love me when I screw up royally?
Truthfully, I still don’t know the answer to that. But the universe shows me that I am, even in the midst of my mess, still dearly loved, both by God and the people around me.
They love me in spite of my mess. They love me because of my mess. They love me inside of my mess.
It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and. It’s a both together.
I am never not going to be a mess. It’s never going to happen. I’ll always have my flaws and my baggage, and I’ll always walk into valleys and messes and flounder beneath them. I’m always going to have struggles. I’ve gotten used to that (somewhat).
But I’ll also always be beloved. I’ll always be loved, no matter the mess surrounding me. I’ll always be loved in spite of myself.
Knowing I’m beloved makes being a mess a lot easier load to carry.
It took me forever to realize that it was okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to be a hot mess– to struggle and have flaws and problems and issues that you’re dealing with. We aren’t perfect, nor called to perfectionism. Hallelujah for that. I can be a mess, because God still calls me beloved. He sees my mess, sees my baggage, despite my attempts to throw it wayward deep into my heart so He can’t find it– and He loves me anyway. He loves me, the hot mess that I am. How amazing a feeling is that?
Being a mess is not the end. It’s not the end of me– it’s a part of me. Being a mess and being loved are both who I am. Both together. Not the end, but a part of who I am and who I’m meant to be.
I am a mess. I am beloved. I am a beloved mess. My weary heart sighs relief at the very thought.
I can be a mess. It’s OK to be a mess. Because I’m a beloved mess, and being loved through my mess makes all the difference.