Why are we all so freaked out about the mistakes, failures, and mess-ups in our lives? If we read the Bible, most of the characters in every story were a hot mess. Look at David; he was a murderer, adulterer and a liar. Peter was a coward, Paul was self-righteous, and Sarah laughed in the face of God. Shall I go on? Abraham lied about his wife, Moses murdered an Egyptian, and Jacob wrestled with God and stole his brother’s birthright, and yet this is the lineup that we call the (book of) Hebrews Hall of Fame! (Hebrews 12).
Do you know why? Because each of these folks turned a hot mess into something redemptive. Each did mighty things for God. Each took what they learned from the mess (problem) and turned it into ministry. How? By getting real with God. Each Bible character did this in their unique way, but each had several things in common. Each of our Hall of Famers:
Many of the folks I counsel struggle with depression. Some feel hopeless. Many feel as if they’ve messed up so bad that they can’t go on. They believe they’re unworthy, inadequate, failures, not good enough—and if people really knew them, they would be rejected. That’s why they hide behind the carefully constructed masks they’ve created—so people won’t see who they really are.
What’s the solution? Come out of hiding. Be willing to tell your story, mess and all. Being transparent is the key to freedom. You’ll be surprised at how people react to you when you do.
Consider this: Oprah Winfrey is one of the most loved and successful women on the planet— and probably the most transparent. That’s why people love her. A week didn’t go by without her struggles, especially with food, being plastered all over TV, magazines and the Internet. People related to Oprah’s struggle because of their own, maybe not with weight, but with something. And that’s what connected them to her. That’s what connects us to each other, and to God, because in the telling of our stories, we see we’re all on the same playing field.
Oprah took turned her mess into a message by taking off her mask and getting real; through it she created something hugely redemptive. That’s what our Bible characters did.
So where does that leave you? How can you learn from those that have gone before you? How can you turn all those places in your life that you’ve wanted to hit the delete button on, into something profoundly redemptive for the glory of God? Start by being transparent, and see what God can do with your hot mess.
Photo cc by Vaguely Artistic on Flickr.