Clean. Ironed. Pretty. Perfect.
That was always how we were supposed to dress on Sunday mornings.
Going to church was a big part of my childhood, and I’m so thankful for that. But sometimes I tended to think that “Sunday best” is how I’m supposed to approach God.
That I’m supposed to be perfect. Supposed to have washed behind my ears all the thoughts I struggle with, to have ironed away all my desires that aren’t in line with the Bible, to have cleaned under my fingernails to the point that there is no attraction to sin and I am prim and proper and ready to meet His approval.
But that’s not how it is.
He wants me to bring my messiness to Him. My imperfection. My struggles. My failures. My flaws.
Recently I put myself in a situation that I shouldn’t have been in. I should have run far away from this situation, but instead I stood there with the tip of my toe barely touching the water. Thinking that I could stay right there with no consequences and no temptations dragging me into the deep.
Oh, so risky.
Thankfully, the Lord prevented me getting dragged under. But just allowing my toe to come into the vicinity of that water brought a storm of repercussions.
Those around me misunderstood the situation. Fingers were pointed. Rumors were whispered. Those closest to me were confused. I was humiliated and my explanations didn’t go too far. Although I was 99% innocent, I had put myself on a canoe headed for the rapids. And the rapids tore my canoe to shreds.
I made a mess. Lost my job. Lost friendships. Lost respect of so many people I cared about.
Lost my pride…Oh, but that is a good thing. The pride had led me there. Thinking I could get so close to the darkness but not get scarred by it. Thinking I had become so good at my job and so well-respected that nothing could touch me. Ugly. Stinking. Pride.
I made a mess. How could I bring that to God?
But that is what He wants. He wants our messes. He wants the true, raw me. The me that I don’t want anyone to see. No pretense. No perfection.
In 2 Corinthians 4:7 the Bible says, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” He wants to use us. Messy, basic jars of clay. Nothing fancy on the outside. Probably cracked or chipped. Dusty from the long walk bringing water from the well. Back then clay jars held oil or water mostly. They were useful but not usually pretty. The treasure, the life-giving substance, was inside.
Just like He lives inside me.
This treasure He’s put inside me makes me beautiful. He sees my messy and he makes beauty. He makes beauty from ashes. He redeems everything He touches. That’s the business God is in now. He started out in the Creating business, but now He’s in the Redeeming business.
I’m so thankful.
And now…do I still have a mess to clean up? Yep. It’s not fun. It’s a bit lonely and a lot embarrassing. I’ve got a lot of work to do and I don’t know where God is taking me next. But that’s ok. I know wherever it is, whatever happens, He will be there with me…taking my messy and making it beautiful.