God bless the mess

Sometimes we need to look at what we’re not looking at.

Coming into work each day is pretty routine, unless it’s the day after services. I must admit, walking into my office on those days is usually frustrating.

The reason it’s frustrating? It doesn’t have anything to do with the life of our church, workload, or cantankerous individuals as you might think.

No, the reason it’s frustrating is my children!

Because we have 7 services each weekend, and I want my children to love church and not hate it, we don’t require them to attend every time their parents do. One church (or one children’s church) and they’re done for the weekend.

But on the occasions that mom and dad have to be there and they have to be in the building, I’ve tried to create a sanctuary in my office for them.

There’s a PlayStation for some video game action, movies from Netflix, and a computer to play on… basically a child’s hideaway and a little bit of paradise away from the pews.

But the reason I’m frustrated is that on the days following services there is a trail of kiddo destruction in every corner of my office.

Far too often I come in and see a half wound rubber band ball and all of my office supplies dumped out on the floor, a paper doll chain with some serious head wounds (I think there might be a need for counseling in the future) or just stacks and piles of things that they played with and should’ve put away. Most recently I came in to find a very creative project accompanied by its mess.

There was a miniature swing set made out of pencils taped together, wire and some cardboard (I have no idea where they got the wire from).

All around the swing set were torn bits of paper, cardboard and pieces of tape stuck to my desk.

I can applaud their creativity, but at some point learn to pick the stuff up!

I began dismantling their playground diorama by pulling the scotch tape up off my desk. I already had a piece or two in hand when I noticed that there was writing on the tape that I could not see as it was stuck against my dark desktop.

Looking more closely I started to read what my peeling practices had destroyed: “Welcome back dad!”

Wow, did I feel like a jerk. I had been gone to another campus for a couple of days and this was my welcome home. But, there I was mumbling under my breath like a dysfunctional PopEye and tearing their little welcome back signage down, completely missing the fact that it was a gift made just for me…

I put it back together and took a picture.

How many times have we done that? Got so focused on our own plan, our own agenda, our own preferences, or own intentions that we missed a gift thats right in front of us.

The premise of my argument is simple: don’t get so focused on your vision for the future that you miss the gift of the present. We all have goals, dreams and desires out there somewhere. But, no one gets there via the long jump. It’s a long slow walk that you have to take one step at a time.

God is good about giving you what you need for each step. So, we have to make it a practice to not always keep our eyes fixed on the horizon, but to look right down at our feet every now and then to see what God has laid before us.

We can’t be so distance focused that we miss the grace in front of us.

I guess that’s why we see this common theme in scriptures like Psalm 119:18

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions.

So many times we have needed the Lord to open our eyes. We see only what we want to see, what were afraid not to see, or distract ourselves with our own lives and when we do.. we miss the very best stuff.

I truly hesitate to use the cliché-ish phrase, but here it goes anyway: when you’re living a life following the Lord you have to stop and smell the roses. Take time out today and simply ask God to open your eyes.

Look for the little opportunities He puts in front of you.

Seek out the relationships that we too easily bypass.

Don’t pass over the little blessings because you’re so focused on receiving the big blessings.

You never know what God may putting your path today, but you’ll have to take your eyes off of you and your plans long enough to lock onto Him if you’re going to see it.

Don’t be in such a rush that you leave God in the dust. Don’t get me wrong, there is no way I believe you’re faster than He is.

But, sometimes He just want you to be still, know that He is God, and enjoy what He’s got for you today long before you get to tomorrow.

3 Replies to “God bless the mess”

  1. Andy,

    I love to read your blog! A lot of what you put in your blogs are things that I already implement (a bit haphazardly, but I at least attempt it earnestly) in my life.

    I am not religious at all, I don’t attend a church, but your blog, well, it just goes to prove that even though we all as human beings don’t necessarily see eye to eye on everything, we certainly all have our commonalities!

    This month my goal has been seeing the beautiful in the ordinary. This blog post seems to kind of fall into that category. You have to give up your preconceived notions about things, and look, really look at things. There is beauty there, if you stop to find it!

    Thanks for your inspiring words!


  2. You might be able to find a babysitter that you can trust somewhere within the church.

  3. I’m feeling your pain. I often find myself running in circles, or in place; yes, leaving God in my dust. I don’t mean to go off on my own, but when I realize he is BEHIND me, waiting for me to SLOW DOWN and see where he is working, then I know that I’ve done it again!
    “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my ANXIOUS thoughts.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *