Making it Through the Mess

Yanni lived with his parents and wanted to do something good for them. He suggested a few renovations to their home, but his mother objected. He told me she was bothered by the mess he’d create! She was sure it’d be unbearable!

Some people can tolerate a certain amount of untidiness in their living arrangements. Others don’t enjoy any change in their lives, particularly their home. Like a lot of improvements, it’s often hard to endure the difficult process that comes before we reach the final achievement.

Yanni felt his mother didn’t want to take the risk of trusting him.¬†Was this because of poor communication between them? In Yanni’s case, he suspected his mother believed he was encroaching on her own areas of responsibility, and even her money. Yanni told me that, after much discussion and persuasion, she finally allowed him to proceed, albeit grudgingly.

But his father had a different attitude: he merely sat back and watched, knowing his clever son’s attempts to clear away the old stuff would create a nice new place. Of course, Dad didn’t have to do the work, so he probably thought it was a bonus for him!

Once Yanni had finished making the initial mess, and brought the new benefits to fruition, his mother admitted that it was a wonderful improvement and she enjoyed her new surroundings! He got a tremendous amount of satisfaction when she praised him to her friends. How much better it would have been if she’d embraced the changes in the first place. She could have avoided all the hassle, the pain and the spoiled relationships.

I’ve been like Yanni’s mother at times…well, often! I can’t stand mess. I don’t like too much change in my life, and I hate losing control over my environment, especially if I believe someone doesn’t understand my personal preferences in the home I have to occupy for most of my daily life. I often have an idea in the back of my mind that I’ll be the one who has to clean up afterwards ~ paying for any mistakes, explaining away the expected ugliness to visitors, or living permanently with an inconvenience!

It’s this in-between part that’s the hardest. It also happens with surgery, or our attempts to improve our mental health by stepping out into the unknown. Any time we try something new, we risk criticism from the ‘experts’. Even dressmaking has this component. Whoever made a wedding dress for the first time and knew how to do it straight off? The person who’ll wear it may have the most difficult task, hoping and waiting until they see the end result.

I sometimes wonder what God thinks of our nervousness when he challenges us to trust him. We might forget all the times when he’s been there for us, or the way he holds our hand in the dark places¬†when we think he’s gone off and left us to cope on our own. We need a list; one that gives us reminders of his faithfulness. It might look like this:

  • God has never let me down.
  • He’s always prepared the way for me even if I’ve forgotten to look for the markers on the road.
  • And he’s Lord over everything.

In my worst moments, when I think I should do it all on my own, I eventually remember his promises, especially the one when he said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.

No mess is too hard for him to take us through. What a wonderful leader he is! It’s worth putting all our hope in his finishing ability!

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