“Make your mess your message.” Robin Roberts said yesterday on ESPN when she described why she made her health struggles with breast cancer and MDS public, rather than hiding them and pushing forward.
So often the tenets of my faith as a Christian and the events of life seem disconnected. Pastors tell me God blesses the faithful followers of Jesus. Life teaches me that good people have seizures, the tenderhearted are trampled on by the aggressive, and cheaters sometimes do prosper.
I don’t understand. But I refuse to hide behind my confusion. So I make my mess my message.
People have many metaphors for faith. A watchtower. A sactuary. A security blanket. A refuge. In a different world, some of these images held meaning to me. Before the pain and confusion descended upon my life. Now, faith is my battlefield, both in life and in writing.
I know two things in the core of my being. God is unfathomably good, and this world is undeniably broken. Life would be easier if I could deny one of these. But I can’t – they both resonate too deeply in my mind, my heart, and my past.
So I battle. I fight against darkness. I fight against God. I fight to make sense of it all. I do it publicly.
How do you make your mess your message?
This blog is part of a link-up with the Writers Unite group answering the questions: How does faith influence your art? What role does it play? Does your faith have implications in what you write? You can read more answers to these questions this week by searching the Twitter hashtag #faithartlife, or you can start with Jim Woods and Nita Holiday.
Chris this is fantastic because we all have a tendency to say, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay” even when things are not remotely okay. Reminds me of this scene in Animal House. Haha. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDAmPIq29ro
I make mess my message by admitting I am broken, I struggle and I don’t have the answers. Still, I know who is the answer. Transparency is why people know we are messes. I find it refreshing and it helps others realize they have a chance. When we try to live with our problems neatly hidden, those with problems feel they can never measure up. And that’s not fair. We are showing them what’s unrealistic much like the world shows the airbrushed beauties and lies, “You too could look like this.” The person they are photographing doesn’t even look like that!
This marks a momentous first in the history of my blog. ChrisMorrisWrites.com can now be an answer in the board game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!
In all seriousness, this process of writing has been one of discovering how busted up I am, accepting it, and sharing it with everyone. Healing and community, for me and others, is the result.
You are growing in leaps and bounds Chris. I know it’s hard to see..but just look back at your VERY first writing and then look at more recent work.
I spent a lot of years as an airbrushed follower of Jesus. No more! It’s just dishonest, and it breaks God’s heart. We get confused, because we forget how broken even the most faithful followers of God really were. Gideon, David, Moses, Peter — all had their issues. We ought to strive for honesty and a forthright walk with our God, in front of others. This is what will inspire curiosity and open doors to hope for others.
It’s true, it’s true, there’s no testimony without a trial. I’m totally guilty of trying to be all perfect in front of people, and I better i never fooled anyone, while all the while I was missing an opportunity to be vulnerable and reach out to people who were hurting just like me.
It feels counterintuitive for some reason to show our ugliness. We feel like perfection is attractive, when really it’s just intimidating.
Yes, our tests do eventually become our testimonies and our messes our message. Though there may be a period during it all where we fail to see the process of learning and growing, it is still there as a seed waiting to flourish at just the right time. As Works in Progress, we accept that we rarely have our act together; we fail and flounder and feel like very poor ambassadors indeed of our Lord Jesus Christ. Others often notice both the latent potential and the developing fruit long before we are capable of seeing it. Perhaps that’s a blessing. They can encourage us and we avoid taking the credit ourselves instead of seeing all as grace and gift.
The Apostle Paul says somewhere in his letters to the Corinthians churches that God uses the weak and the foolish to confound the wise and powerful. I have to keep reminding myself of this, to fight the urge to shut down the process of growth through pain and confusion I am in right now. God is doing…something. And I am a Work in Progress indeed
Wendy van Eyck
I love that “Make your mess your message”. When I was struggling with depression a few years ago my friends and I coined the phrase “openness brokenness” which basically meant the same thing. Being open with our brokenness in the hope that through it healing would come. Guess it’s the same reasons I turned to sharing devotionals when my husband was diagnosed with cancer I needed an outlet to share the cracks in my life and heart.
Nice to see you here! My story is so similar. I had a moment where my pain and mistrust exceeded my faith in God. It is in this second that I started to write. If you look at some of my older posts, you can see the anger and frustration shining through. I learned over these past few months there is healing in sharing, and strengthening in community.
Definitely, in my experience, at the times when we are weakest the help of God is most obvious. These testimonies of God’s care are often profoundly powerful.
And, having ended with the necessarily pretentious comments, basically: thanks for your great honesty. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by Josiah, and for the encouragement
The honesty and messiness of your life are encouraging for someone like me who has a tendency to hide for fear of reveal to all that I really am.
We are all broken Shelley. Most of us are hiding the messes (or at least think we are). I have yet to meet someone who actually has it all together, once I get to know them. Isn’t that the fear though – being known, and then found wanting?