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The Way of the Spiritual Life
In the Messiness of Our Lives
I must admit my rooms (at home or at church!) are often untidy. The picture below is a snippet of my messy normal. Note the components: a Turkish carpet from Cappadocia, a pair of sandals (my preferred walking shoes for the summer), a Fender Telecaster guitar case (guitar safely enveloped inside), an open gym bag, a pair of workout pants flung over a chair, books lurking behind it all. Maybe the photo represents a messy life—one which is caught up in a myriad of interests, work, study, current projects, relationships, teaching, writing, and church community dynamics?
I do take some comfort in the close relationship between creativity and chaos. Perhaps my cluttered spaces are a result of an active, artistic mindset (I tell myself) and not a depiction of laziness or mental stupor! One thing I know is that God is with me in my mess. He never leaves me. I am never alone. Whatever the turnings of the wheel of life, God remains the centre, the North Star of my celestial heavens. For this reason (and others) I appreciate the insistence from Yaconelli that God resides with us in the messiness of our lives—my mess or your mess:
“The way of the spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality, not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the One who is present in the tangled-ness of our lives. Spirituality is not about being fixed, it is about God being present in the mess of our unfixedness.” (Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality)
Tidiness is a good thing I am sure. But knowing the lived truth that the Spirit of God walks beside me in my messiness—that she never forsakes me—no matter if I am tidy or as untidy as Jeremiah’s ‘fragile cracked pot.’ Now that is truly precious.
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