Sitting in my favorite leather chair, with three boys off to school and one still asleep, I enjoyed the rare quiet of a late morning. That is, until I heard little footsteps on the stairs and a jumbled mix of words like “mess,” “yucky” and “poop.”
When I entered my littlest’s bedroom, and then the bathroom, I found he’d had an accident … and it had spread.
I glanced back at my son to see a horrified expression on his face. A mix of shame and guilt. If this scenario had happened on a morning we had to rush to go somewhere or all the boys were home, I may have responded with anger or annoyance. Thankfully, because of my extended quiet morning and no need to rush, I graciously offered him help and comfort.
“It’s going be OK, buddy. We can totally clean up this mess. Why don’t you get in the bath?” He adamantly refused. As I coaxed him in, the closer he got to the mess, the more upset he became.
I finally calmed him down and settled him into a warm bath. While he soaked, I got on my knees to clean up the room. That’s when I felt his sweet hand rubbing my back as he gently said, “Thank you, Mommy. I love you so much.” (Cue tears.)
What would have happened if he’d never told me about the mess? If my son had let his shame keep me from cleaning up? If he had continued to push me away and deny the mess’ existence because he was embarrassed by its presence? The mess wouldn’t have gone away. The stench would have caught up with him eventually. And he would not have had the chance to be reminded of the love between us.
How often do we do the same with God? Keeping our dirtiest, worst actions “hidden” from Him as if He can’t already see into our hearts. We often stiff-arm Him and continue to separate ourselves in shame, like Adam and Eve in the garden. We feel unworthy to walk in His presence. Like my son, we believe our mess is too much to clean up. We forget how much He loves us.
We forget that no one is too far gone and no mess is too much for Him. Nothing about us will ever change His love for us. And when He sees you, He sees the perfection of His Son.
What are you trying to cover up? What areas of your soul are you too ashamed to reveal? Start with a simple prayer: God, I know nothing is hidden from You. Remove the shame. And tell Him those things that you believe are too much for Him.
Then ask yourself, What have I been believing? Maybe it’s something you’ve believed about God (e.g., “God is angry with me”). Or something you’ve believed about others (e.g., “People cannot be trusted”). Perhaps it’s a wrong belief about yourself (e.g., “I don’t deserve attention and care from other people”).
A key step towards freedom from the thing you’ve been hiding is to align with God. Adjust how you’ve been thinking about it with how He feels. This process starts with confession. Not the “beat myself up” or “woe is me” kind of confession. Simply stating your wrong belief back to God.
Something like, Lord, forgive me. I have been believing that I can meet everyone’s needs. That their happiness and approval is based on my performance. I know You tell us that, if we confess, You are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. Help me release control to You.
Then receive His forgiveness and freedom. Verbalize accepting it: “Lord, I receive Your forgiveness.” Let it pour over you and onto others, too.
Heavenly Father, thank You that no one and nothing is too much for You. Your love and forgiveness cover me and allow me to extend the same love and forgiveness to others. Help me to connect with those around me and to pursue reconciliation when my mess disrupts relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NRSV)
What part of your story do you consider “too messy” for God? If you were to bring that to God to be healed, how would that impact what you believe about God, yourself and others?