I’m honored to be included on our church’s teaching team and I don’t take it lightly. So when I’m asked to teach to our church, I spend weeks agonizing over how to say things so that people of all walks of life can understand and apply it to their daily lives. Being in the world of outreach ministry, it’s a pet peeve of mine when pastors or teachers overcomplicate the Gospel. So for today, I had worked hard to prepare exactly what I wanted to say. I teach often, not just for our church, but regularly as a part of my job, and I absolutely love it. I may hate it in the process, and as I step on stage feeling my knees knock, I really hate it, but then about a minute in I find my groove and I’m back in my lane.
As a group of us that would be leading certain aspects of our service sat around before the first service this morning, a trusted friend said, “I feel like you should embrace your messiness”. As a person who despises looking like a mess to others, I instantly felt a pit in my stomach. In my mind I was thinking more like, “ummm…no. I refuse to be messy. I’m supposed to have it together.” I quickly laughed it off only to be halfway through my teaching and had to speak about my mom’s death. When I wrote it out and even practiced my teaching out loud, I could share the story and felt 100% okay in those moments, but in that moment, on stage, sharing about one of the most difficult times of my life, I could feel the tears start to swell. At one point I even had to pause to get my composure back. I apologized to our congregation and shared that I didn’t think I would get that emotional and instantly said, “well at least you know that those of us that stand on stages don’t have it all together and are messy people.” I had to chuckle to myself since not an hour earlier, I was encouraged to share my messiness — the one thing I didn’t want to do.
After service, I received more comments and compliments on that one moment that I did on any other part of the teaching. To think that I spent weeks and hours of my life preparing to share some insightful comment, and people more so appreciated when I shared my mess, something that I can recognize in my life on a minute to minute basis. In the same way that people could recognize my authenticity and vulnerability in that moment, people will recognize yours too. Doing life with others is difficult, but doing life with others superficially is even harder.
What’s one way you can honor your mess this week? Is it to share it with your #1 villager or maybe a mentor? Is it to just take responsibility for it and embrace the mess when it comes up in life? My encouragement to you is this: take a moment to reflect on your life and the imperfections of what that might look like. Who is one person that you can be truthful with and that will value your sharing of your mess? Invite them in. And then take a deep breath. You are doing the best you can!