I am a mess. Maybe not a hot mess, but a mess, nonetheless.
Too often, I think things I shouldn’t think and do things I shouldn’t do. More often than I want to admit, I struggle with worry and depression. And on a fairly regular basis, my mouth reveals my heart—and it ain’t pretty.
Why we struggle to admit our brokenness to ourselves and others is a mystery. Maybe it’s pride. Perhaps it’s fear.
I want people to like me. I want to be revered. I like to think I’m generally better than so-and-so because I’m smarter or wiser. I reason, For heaven’s sake, I’m a leader and a pastor, and people won’t follow or trust a mess.
Whatever the reason for our denial, we work exceptionally hard to hide our emotional warts and spiritual wrinkles from the world around us.
But here’s the thing: I am far from perfect.
I have fractures in my soul. Some of them are micro-fractures, but a few of them are gaping chasms. Those closest to me already know this to be true. And thankfully, those who know me the best love me the most. (And that’s a miracle of grace, by the way.)
Recently, I read something Erwin McManus wrote, and it’s profound. “There has never been a warrior who did not know pain. There has never been a warrior who did not know failure. There has never been a warrior who did not know defeat. The warrior knows they are wounded and broken.”
I know Erwin is controversial in some religious circles, but his understanding of battle and brokenness is incredible and spot on.
Yes, we are new in Christ.
Yes, we are being perfected (i.e., sanctified).
Yes, we are warriors.
But every warrior knows the battle within and without is real, and he or she has the scars to prove it.
And it’s fine. Really.
So, you might wonder, why is it okay to be a mess?
First, it’s because our present condition reminds us of our continual need for God.
Getting “saved” doesn’t mean I’m no longer in need of saving. Every moment of every day of our lives, we need Him. There will never be a time on this side of eternity when I can ever afford to think, I’ve got this; I can do this without any help.
As a broken and in-process follower of Jesus, I get to walk in the truth of that old hymn, “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Ev’ry hour I need Thee!”
Second, the fact that you and I are broken should deeply bond us together.
Not only do I need Jesus every day, but I also need you, and you need me. We are the fellowship of the broken. Because none of us is perfect yet, we require the support of the walking wounded warriors among us.
If I am weak at times (and I am), and if you are frail at times (and you are), then we must humble ourselves and stand together. We are designed to be stronger together. We are meant to find the courage to overcome our struggles within the courage of others.
I suggest it’s time to get over ourselves, to get real, and to own our fractured lives. Pretending is a pathetic waste of time and energy, but transparency leads to genuine relationships and wholeness.
Finally, a watching world is not drawn to hypocrisy but to humility.
Here’s a little secret: Your unbelieving friends and family already know you’re a mess. They see right through the façade you’re trying to live behind. Humans know humans. We instinctively know we are all broken.
When someone says to me, “Your faith is nothing but a crutch.” I quickly respond, “You’re absolutely right. I’m crippled. My mind, heart, and soul are damaged, and that’s why I need a saving healer.”
My wounds and weaknesses are no longer points of shame in my life, but rather they point to a Savior. My fears and struggles and fractures make me a trophy of God’s grace. My mess does not disqualify me but actually qualifies me and portrays me as one who is unconditionally loved by the Father.
The Scriptures are full of broken and messed up people. Most of the heroes in the Word had terrible moments of weakness. (Think Abraham, Rahab, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul.) They were humans. And sometimes they were a hot mess. Yet, they were still loved and used by God.
Maybe, just maybe, the world needs more broken heroes who cause people to pause and think, If God can love them, maybe He can love me too.
Let’s stop hiding.
Let’s stop pretending.
Let’s be honest.
I am a mess. So are you. That’s our shared story.
But thankfully, because God never gives up on us, that’s also not the end of our story.
Without any doubt, I’m absolutely certain of this fact:
The One who started His work of grace and change in your life
will faithfully complete what He has begun in you.
He’s always molding and shaping your life right up to the moment Jesus returns!
Philippians 1:6 (Bubna Paraphrase)
 The Way of the Warrior, Erwin Raphael McManus, Waterbrook