“It’s a mess!” These were my granddaughter’s words when I carried her into the bathroom to get some baby wipes to use on her face. There was stuff all over the counter and a towel on the floor. She might have been two years old, but could have been closer to eighteen months.
Every time I walk out of my corner of the office into the hallway, I think exactly the same thing. Recent rains, combined with roofing work that was in process on the building, have left us with several water-damaged offices. As a result, office furniture, books, files and supplies are now residing in the hallway. Roofers are still working above and there are workers in the offices at the end of the hall repairing damaged walls. It’s a mess!
Several of my colleagues are displaced from their work spaces. They work wherever they can find an empty spot, using other people’s work spaces whenever they are available, or setting up makeshift work places. Nothing appears to be normal or in order around here.
In spite of the noise and the visual chaos inside and outside the building, though, everyone continues to do their work. They collaborate with each other and try to discern God’s direction for their particular ministry areas. They pray for guidance and implement their plans with much hope. They try, and then try again. Even in the middle of the mess, God’s work continues.
My observations cause me to pause and wonder just how I operate when everything around me is out of whack. Do I throw my hands up and lose my head? Do I give up completely? Do I make it difficult for others to interact with me? I think that I would be less than honest if I said that I have never lost my cool when confronted with frustrating circumstances.
It is not that I think that God expects that we should never feel frustrated or overwhelmed. I believe that God knows our humanity and loves us for who we are. It is not about the feelings we have. It seems to me, that God’s plan is for us to learn to be the people we are called to be. In the middle of the mess, can I look around and find light and love, hope and joy, peace and forgiveness and wonderful humanity? I am trying to remember to look for all of these things in every moment and circumstance of my life. On the day that I am not intentional in my choice to be my best self for God’s purpose, I choose life in middle of the mess.