Currently, there’s dog hair all over my couch. All.over.it. There’s chicken waterers, rabbit water bottles, and random bowls in my bathtub, filled with ice in various stages of melting. I pulled straw out of my kitchen sink. I haven’t washed my hair and I’m still wearing the same shirt I wore yesterday.
This is where I am. This is me.
My shoulder is throbbing, but I couldn’t tell you what I did to it. There’s 6 unexplained bruises on my left leg. I’m limping, thanks to a bovine who was bit too eager for her breakfast this morning.
There is quite literally an entire Queen mattress and box spring in the middle of my living room, and various parts of Dan’s wardrobe spread over the hairy couch and neighbouring chair.
The chicken coop needs to be scooped, the goats need fresh bedding, and who knows what my dog rolled in this morning.
(You may feel better about your life now. Good grief it’s like a bunch of gremlins live here.)
That’s physical mess, and goodness knows we have plenty of that on the farm! But if you look beyond that, you’d see me. I’m messy. Not just in physical appearance, but in attitude. I’m easily provoked, quick to judgement and anger.
Dan came home from work on Saturday, all happy after working with my brother for day. Dan and my brother, Graham, have a very special relationship. Sometimes I wonder who he loves more, me or Graham.
But in they came, tracking snow all over my freshly mopped entranceway. They kicked their boots off and left them sitting in the middle of the room. Gloves and hats were thrown on the table that I had just cleared off and put a fresh tablecloth on and they hung their coats on the backs of the dining room chairs instead of turning 90 degrees and hanging them in the closet.
Y’all I was fit.to.be.tied. I yelled at Dan, stepped in a pile of snow they had tracked in and soaked my sock, so I yelled again. WHY CAN’T YOU PUT YOUR STUFF AWAY? ALL I EVER DO IS CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!
Messy. Not him – me.
My attitude is messy.
I instantly felt bad for my outburst, because it wasn’t called for. I was frustrated in the moment and I lash out in frustration. After I found and brought my quacking brother from the corner he had run to to hide from his screaming big sister (I may have been a mean big sister. He may have some trauma. But who knows for sure……) and got my attitude in check, things got better. But y’all life is just messy sometimes.
People are messy. Attitudes are messy. Words can be mean and create messes. Life is messy. Farms are messy. Marriages are messy. And daily mundane tasks that must be accomplished day in and day out, even though I literally just did it the day before, wear on me. I don’t always do my tasks as if doing them for the Lord. I grumble about them, get frustrated in them, and wonder why on earth my dogs leave half their pelt on my freshly vacuumed couch, or why husband can not put his clothes in the dirty hamper. Messy.
As a Christian I have the hope that one day things won’t be messy. That sin won’t abound my heart and this world forever. That I’ll be home, not a stranger in a foreign land. But until then, it’s a process. A process to be patient, loving, kind, compassionate, and less messy. My evil heart wants things my way all the time. My temper gets the better of me, and my tongue can tear holes in the ones that I love. It’s a process that somedays I just downright fail. But what a joy it is to have hope in Christ! To be washed clean; that despite my wicked ways, there’s a God who loves me. Who forgives me. Who gives me mercy. He teaches me that those are the things that I should be giving to others.
To clear, His sacrifice is not a permit to sin. Goodness no! His sacrifice is to cover me in his holiness even though I am wicked. And because I’m sinful, and without hope of ever saving myself from my wickedness, I can proclaim His goodness. Look what He has done for me, despite myself! Hallelujah, what a joy it is to know those truths.
But as a human, despite all the biblical truths, somedays are just messy. I recognize it more and more as I slowly inch through that painful santification process. It won’t be complete until glory but I recognize my sin, and try, try to become better and love those around me who are also just trying their best in a fallen world. There is nothing that will get us through the messy days better than Jesus first, followed by patience, love, and mercy. And a good dose of humility and forgiveness. Nothing.
So when everything is messy – look to yourself first. Start there. What is messy about you that needs to be cleaned up before you start in on those around you? Then pray for the attitudes you are lacking. It’s not easy but it’s the best way I know to survive the messy days. The attitude days. The hard days. The days that lack compassion and patience.Those days.
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5