When Messy is Good
(From Part 1: Seven things I want you to know about me)
The Holy Spirit longs for us to know: “I love it when things get messy.”
There’s dirt, and then there’s mess. There’s bad mess, and then there’s good mess.
Good mess is train tracks and Lego on the floor because the grandkids are over. It’s the dishes piled up after a fantastic dinner party.
In 2008, my wife Julie went to a Christian conference in Melbourne with a team of people from the congregation we were at. After the evening session, the speaker invited those in attendance to come to the front and receive prayer.
Julie went forward. As the speaker got to her, he placed both hands on her head, and proceeded to energetically ruffle her hair, laughingly and loudly declaring, “It’s going to get messy. Ohhh, it’s going to get messy.” This said while tousling her hair the whole time.
Meanwhile Julie was thinking, “No one messes with my hair!”
It’s true. Julie is very particular about her hair. One of our minor sources of disagreement is that the hair dryer goes with us everywhere like an overindulged pet. For Julie’s hair to be deliberately dishevelled in such a public way was significant.
The speaker had moved down the line, praying for others. Just when Julie was starting to wonder what all this might mean, he raced back, stood in front of her again, and vigorously mussed up her hair, declaring, “Yes, it’s going to get reeeeaaaally messy!”
If only we’d known. Less than a year later, Holy Spirit had called us out of the congregation I thought we’d be in till retirement, into the great unknown, with a calling that was to be funded by him, on an adventure into who knows what!
Messy is often preparation for change. Change is often a precursor for growth. Growth takes us into a place of security in our Father’s heart.
Messy can lead to financial problems being redressed, priorities reassessed, values repossessed, and intimacy freshly expressed.
The Holy Spirit is not a bully. He doesn’t come in and make things happen in order to force us to change. He works with us in the midst of the mess which he then uses as an invitation for us to springboard into an avenue we were unlikely to choose for ourselves.
Our human nature wants to resist the mess. “No one messes with my hair!” may become us saying to the Holy Spirit, “No one messes with me!” Understandable, natural even, but sadly, it blocks us from growth.
In the midst of the mess, we can then prayerfully reflect: Is this good mess or bad mess? Holy Spirit, how can you lead me deeper through this?
In the mess, you can move forward, with or without the hairdryer!