Oceans Deep

Finding & Following Jesus in the Deep End of Life

Cultivating Community: Lessons in the Mess

Happy Monday, readers! As we near the end of July, I’m excited to bring you words of encouragement from my friend and blogger Julie Loos. Julie manages a busy home of five children and writes openly and honestly about the messes of our everyday lives–so she was a perfect fit for this summer’s theme!

As you read her words, I hope you will be encouraged to bring all the messy corners of your heart to Christ and let Him cleanse and restore you. Blessings!


What Are the Best Lessons God Teaches in the Mess?

by Julie Loos

Do you seem to be stuck in a perpetual mess? I’m not talking about the clutter in your house or your car. Those are messes you can roll up your sleeves and get to work on with the vacuum and Formula 409®. If you’re a mom, you might be able to see a sparkling clean area for about an eye blink.

The mess I’m talking about is in the inside.

The debris that ebbs and flows daily. Some days you can conquer it, but other days it just wants to spew itself all over your insides. You can’t break free from it.

My clutter is anxiety. I didn’t know it personally until a few years ago. It took a hold of me quickly, and it seems to be taking a long time to rid itself of me. I am sick of it, and I’d dose myself in any cleaning product if it would promise to leave me.

For years I searched and clawed for answers and potions to rid myself of it. I hated its ugly influence on my life. I couldn’t get away from it. It was starting to take me under.

What’s your clutter? Anxiety, depression, or addiction? Maybe something different, but nevertheless it has its tentacles in you and your insides?

Are you weary and overwhelmed and just plain old sick of it? Are you scrambling for something to give you your old life back, or even take you to a new life?

When I was in the midst of this strangling time, I wanted it to be different. What I’ve come to understand is the mess made me re-evaluate myself. I needed some inner heart cleaning. It had to be done one heart string at a time. It was painful and yucky work, and I didn’t want to do it.

To become the best me, each heart string needed His work.

Here are five things I’ve learned during messy seasons:

I’m not enough

So many times, I think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps. I keep things to myself because I don’t need anyone’s help. Can I let you in on a little secret? We all are dealing with issues. The best healing happens when we share. God is enough. He will always be enough. He promises to give us strength, and His power overcomes our weakness. Walking hand in hand with God changes me, fills me, and allows me to spill my gifts onto others. I become overflowing with Him.

John 15:5 (NLT) Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

CC_Mess

Original image from pixabay.com

You need to walk through this season, not sweep it under a rug

It’s not fun, and it’s painful, but healing can only happen when you walk through it. I have learned so much about myself. I have seen what parts of me need work. Only from being on my knees in total dependence on God have I seen where I need His work to help me. Strength happens when we strive through and instead of suppress.

John 16:33 (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Christian living is more than going to church or saying religious clichés

During this season, my faith was tested. Was God my all-in-all or not? I had to trust in God and my faith because it’s all I had. I couldn’t see healing, but I knew it was coming. I put my Bible knowledge into practice.

James 1:22 (NLT) But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Admitting your weakness is not a bad thing…it’s the best thing

I was afraid to show others how broken I was, but God has done amazing things since I began unmasking my mess. My relationship with God has been strengthened, my dependence on him has increased, and the wall surrounding me has come down. There is encouragement in sharing with others and understanding that we all struggle.

II Corinthians 12:9-11 (NLT) Each time he said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God will never leave me

 When I was in the throes of anxiety, I felt alone. Many prayers were sent heavenward from my mouth, and it seemed like they were falling on deaf ears. God hears them all. I might feel alone, but my feelings lie to me. God is always present whether I believe it or feel it.

John 14:18 (NLT) No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

 * * *

Fear can keep us from His fullness.

CC_Mess2I didn’t want to be “less” anymore, but His best; therefore, I’m accepting my brokenness and using my mess for His message.

This journey won’t be easy, and many days it will be one step forward and two steps back. But, I can promise you that healing is coming. It might not be the healing you imagine, but God won’t leave you stuck. He will bring you a type of healing that will surpass your way of healing.

As your heartstrings are made new, you will begin to look more like Christ. Your heartstrings couldn’t have been so exposed without this mess.

Your sister in Christ,

Julie


Julijulie headshot 100x100e Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 17 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes.

You can find her blog at unmaskingthemess.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unmaskingthemess/.

You can also connect with Julie via Twitter @juliealoos and on Instagram at juliealoos.

 

14 Comments

  1. Anxiety is also my clutter. It waxes and wanes, sometimes with a reason I can pinpoint, but sometimes not. Thanks, Julie, for directing us to how God wants to help us through it to the other side!

  2. Now that is a truth packed post, great thoughts, thank you. One of my favorite quotes is, God waste nothing, not even our messes or others messes that influence our lives. Here the good thing about aging. The older you get the easier it is to just be yourself, warts and all. Somewhere between salvation at the cross and heavens light getting closer you realize it was never about me, it was always about Him, I just failed to acknowledge Him in all things. Do I still makes messes, of course, I am saved but not totally redeemed…got to slip our of this dress of flesh someday and then, the transformation will be complete. Until then I am striving to be a courageous wise hearted woman in this mess. Great post.

  3. Julie, this is fabulous! So many of us (including me) are being strangled by these destructive thought patterns and behaviors. The world teaches people that we can do or become “anything we want” if we just believe in ourselves enough. The truth is God has a specific purpose and plan for us – and anything outside of that will not bring us the joy or fulfillment we are seeking. We need to believe in God’s will for us. And we aren’t strong enough on our own – or even with a thousand people by our side. We need God! The world is broken because the world has fed into the lie that we don’t need Him. Pride and self-sufficiency lead to a very lonely and overwhelmed life. There is nothing more powerful than surrendering it all to God – and letting Him lead! Thank you for these amazing words and verses!!

  4. Thank you for a great post, Julie! Love all the scripture and truth you’ve directed us to here–it is life-giving! And just what I needed to hear :-). Blessings!

  5. Amen! This is such a great post! Such truth and honesty spoken in love! I love talking about and learning from the MESSES of life! I’ll be sharing this at My Messy Desk!

  6. Hi Julie, thank you for visiting my article about reaching out to that pregnant mom in my church and for your kind comment.

    I, too, struggle with the mess of anxiety…and the mess of discontent. Thankfully, God has been working in those areas (I blogged about both of them this month). But there are still other messes he is working on cleaning up.

    I love that you talked about not being afraid to show others our brokenness. That is huge! When we admit our weaknesses, others then don’t feel so alone. They don’t feel like they are the only ones struggling in a particular area.

    Anxiety is debilitating, and sometimes, it’s so intense, you can barely breathe. I am so glad you are finding healing from that.

    Blessings,
    Patti @ Embracing Home

    • Patti- thank you for the kind words!
      I have been putting on a mask my whole life, it was time to be authentic and true to what God has planned for me. Anxiety holds us captive and makes us less than. It’s snares prevent us from being used by Him.
      I hope you will visit my blog in August where I will be talking more about anxiety!
      Thanks again!
      Julie

  7. Those ‘tentacles’ feel pretty long sometimes, yet the Strength of God is so much more than any or all of those things on our insides. This is an excellent post for me right now. Thanks for reminding me just how God feels about me! You have given me a smile and surely hope!

    • So glad I can cheer you on today! I love your blog name “Being Woven.” What a perfect name! Even anxiety can be woven into your ministry to create that powerful message. Use it my friend and know that even in this mess God has your message!
      Julie

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