Man can life get messy! It can get messy because of clutter, people, situations and so many other things. When it is your mess, you can hope to navigate it to the other side. When it is other people’s messes, what do you do?
Other people’s messes can include hurt, insecurities, stuff, money issues, fear, hate, revenge, addictions, disorder, and all can lead to chaos and confusion. What do we do with other people’s stuff especially when their mess spills over and into your life? You did not choose that.
We did this exercise over in Israel. We had to take a blank sheet of paper with our name printed on the back and paint with a brush a line, mark, or squiggle on it, then we passed it to the right. That person had to make their mark on it and around the table it went until it had been around at least 3 times. At this point you could kind of recognize your picture but it now did not look like anything that you started with or had a vision for. Boy some people do not know how to paint!
Then we took the paper and switched tables and around the paper went again, each new person making some kind of mark on the paper with their paint and color of choice.
When you got the paper back – you could not recognize your painting. Any sense of ownership or pride was now gone because now the picture resembled a kindergarten mess of color and jumbled lines and squiggles. What a mess!
We have moved into our new house and I can safely say – I am soooo glad that is over. I mean it is not over, but we have all of our possessions in the house.
We have some amazing friends with muscles and energy that came and moved “a lot” of stuff! Friends fed and watered us, over the course of many days, some came and put beds together so we could finally crash into our own beds (had not done that since mid March). What a blessing friends can be! They each made a mark in our moving “mess” for good and we are so grateful for each one!
I am not sure what I was thinking before the move, I knew that 2 of my 3 sons were going to move in for a time.
What I do not think I was anticipating was that they are grown men, with their own places and that meant that 3 households moved into 1 house. It became overwhelming for my brain as more and more stuff kept flowing into the house.
I suddenly had 3 bbq’s and a smoker, 3 coffee tables, 20 lawn chairs, 6 -8 picnic coolers, more beds than rooms and the list went on……
This physical mess of the move would be a great analogy for the above painting. Each of us making our own mark with our own stuff in one house, just like on that one picture.
I did not know how to cope with all that stuff! I felt like I could not even begin to tackle it except to move boxes from one pile to another, literally just shifting the mess around. I could not see how this would work at all and I began to crash.
I probably began to crash from sheer exhaustion alone but because I was unable to see clearly where or how all this “stuff” would fit into our home, it pressed in on me very hard. I began to be in trouble, I had to quit work for the week and lay down and rest.
Brian, my hubby, left the day after we moved to go to the NWT for a week to help build a building for a camp for kids for the summer. It was awesome that he could go.
When he got back, I do not think the house looked much different than when he left. I
had been unable to get a vision for how to clean up the boxes, when I unloaded one, there were 12 or more waiting to be unloaded. It was not making sense to me so I simply gave up.
The night he got home and realized that this mess was too much for me, he started in and I joined him. Brian had a vision, he had a plan and that made working at the piles easier with a target in mind. When I grasped the vision and plan I could finally made sense of it and got to work too.
Today, 3 days after he got home, the house looks amazing, we actually do not have a maze right from the front door to the back. We have clear floors in the main areas, save a couple boxes. He could see the sense of piling all the unopened boxes into one room and bringing them out one at a time so that it was not overwhelming to look at them continuously. He dove in with gusto and carried the things that were to heavy for me to other places in the house.
I was telling someone this story today and she quoted me the following Bible verse:
Proverbs 29:18 King James Version (KJV)
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
Hearing it was like a light bulb clicking on in my head: in our world today, where chaos and disorder is so rampant, how do people without vision or a plan make it? Do they like me fall apart and get stuck? Do they thrive and only try to survive?
The way is muddled, much like a maze of boxes stuffed into a house where you have to wander in and out of them to get around. You are never really sure where you would end up or what you might have to climb over or whose box it was. It would be confusion and chaos just like I was physically experiencing amidst my box epidemic.
I know for me with God at the helm and His Word, the Bible, which clearly marks out the path of life with clarity and purpose, life becomes an adventure to be lived instead of a life running in circles and non ending pathways leading to nowhere.
Getting back to my painting from Israel. When we got our paper back, we were also given a small 4” x 6” wooden frame. We were told to move the frame around on our now dry painting and find a section that spoke to you. When you took the collectively painted mess and singled out an area with the frame, some of the mess turned into beauty. By spotlighting a small portion of the mess, not the whole thing – you discovered meaning and beauty hidden right there in front of you.
For me and my painting, the 4 x 6 section – was a tornado, swirling around me, but God showed me I was not in the tornado only beside it, safe and able to watch without being scathed. For where I was at the time, it spoke to my heart and that became my “treasure” instead of my mess.
Are you in turmoil or mess at the moment? Yours or someone else’s imposed on you?
Ask God to give you eyes to see the beauty hidden in the chaos and mess because that is God’s specialty after all: to make beauty from messes.
Isaiah 61: 1-3
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor."