Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 16:24 (NLT)

The other night I attended an evening church service and couldn’t focus during worship. My mind was everywhere. It had been a difficult day filled with frustrations, and people were just not cooperating with my plans. 

Somewhere in the chaos of my mind, I realized that I had built a nice, quiet life where I had most of the control over my time, resources, and decisions. So when others reached in and messed with my plans, I quickly felt frustrated. With that realization came today’s thought. “Do I dare ask God for a messy life? Do I let Him mess up my plans? Do I invite others to dip their hands into my life?” 

A messy life means things will get complicated. My neat, compartmentalized shelves will get skewed and have other people’s stuff shoved on them. I confess, I don’t like that. When I claim something as “mine” I like to keep it tidy and efficient. 

Don’t get me wrong, when I’m helping other people with “their” stuff, I’m all about flexibility and going with the flow. But my stuff is, well, my stuff. It’s safe to say that I can get territorial. 

Enter today’s verse. Followers of Jesus must give up their own way. Hmm. Sounds terribly messy and unpredictable. Am I brave enough to ask God to give me a messy life? Do I love and trust Him enough to lay down my own plans, take up my cross and follow Him? 

Can I confess that I’m still struggling with these answers. I know what I want the answer to be: Yes, of course I’ll give up control and let Jesus make my life as messy as He wants. But I’m getting in the way. I’m afraid of the mess and clutter that will result. 

The core of my personality rebels against the idea of not only living with the mess but loving the mess and those who contribute to it. God is challenging me to surrender to His will, to trust Him to clean up the mess, and to find His peace in the chaos. God is changing me. I can feel it. 

So here goes: God, give me a messy life. But please don’t leave me alone in the mess. Stay with me, help me replace my natural reactions of frustration and annoyance with grace and patience. I can’t do this alone and I know I can’t do it in my own strength.

Jesus, help me to surrender control to You. I want to invite you to take the lead on every part of my life even if it gets complicated and messy. You know this scares me. It rattles the cage of my comfort zone and challenges my neat life. But I desire to follow You more than I desire to hang onto my comfort. So help me take up my cross, the cross you prepared for me, the cross You will carry for me when it gets too heavy. Make me brave, make me remember that You are completely trustworthy. In Your holy name, Amen.

Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,


2 Responses

  1. Thank you for opening up to “messy”. It made me look at myself too and I didn’t think of myself as a neat freak but in a lot of areas I guess I am.
    I love reading your musings. God gas gifted you.

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