A while ago Glennon Melton of Momastery.com posted a challenge. -If we believe that sometimes what’s messy about us is also what’s beautiful about us, then we should write about it… Here’s mine:
I went for a walk this morning to have some time to ask God about what I should paint and write. The one thing I noticed was that the orange trees in my neighbourhood are just bursting with hundreds of insignificant little white flowers. Now, when God draws my attention to something like that it’s usually because He has something to say to me through it. And today He said: “that’s your messy-beautiful: You’re an orange blossom… but on the inside you really want to be a rose: a huge, red, eye-catching rose, that is perfect and unblemished and beautiful and that everyone notices.
OK, I admit it. I’m an orange blossom: small, a bit damaged, no shelf-life unless stuck to the tree and in the middle of a wonderful community of a million other flowers just like me. And God is OK with that… but I struggle with it!
The bit of me that wants to be a rose is called something like, “I need to be significant”. It’s not small. It’s like a deep, deep hole that’s been there forever and grows every time someone forgets to copy me on an email, or ask my opinion about something. A huge gaping unfillable bucket of a hole in the middle of my heart. Now that’s messy.
I’ve been walking with Jesus for a while now, so I know that I’m very important and significant to Him. I also know that only He is able to fill my need-to-be-important bucket.
But here’s the thing- every time something comes along that I could use to measure my ‘significance’, I look away from Jesus and I try to fill the bucket again myself. And IT NEVER, EVER WORKS…
I can confirm that it is impossible to fill up that bucket with nice facebook comments or website hit stats or well-behaved children or good grades or a shiny car (that was a while ago) or a trim waistline (that might have been a previous life ) or ANYTHING other than Jesus.
I’m a slow learner.
So I often ask myself why Jesus would ask me, with my gaping wound of an importance-hole, to put myself out there on a website or in a book or anywhere where I could so easily fall into the trap of trying to fill my own bucket with reviews or stats or happy comments… Or where I could be destroyed by bad ones! Why would He ask me to follow Him into a place where I know I’m always going to be limping?
… It’s a good question. But I think I got a hint of an answer the other day when someone sent me this verse:
Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?
Songs 8:5 NIV
Do you see it?
God chooses wounded people because those who limp, lean.
Don’t discount yourself because you’re wounded and limping. Do lean on Jesus. And in the words of Glennon: Do show up anyway.
There’s a world out there that needs changing… and it’s only going to be changed if limping, messy people with mixed motives and scared hearts lean on Jesus and show up and start changing things.
Anyway, back to the orange blossom…
I picked one off the tree and brought it home to paint and to ponder on. On the kitchen table when I got in, abandoned by my five year old chaos-generator, was a beautiful red rose.
“That’s really not fair” I said to God.
But I walked over and picked it up anyway. It was a fake! – made of plastic and silk. It looked great from a distance, but close to it felt rough to touch, and it smelled of… nothing. In that moment I looked down at the little orange blossom flower in my hand – soft, small and already wilting from being taken out of the tree, and it smelled AMAZING.
So that’s it. I’m not going to pretend to be a rose and smell of nothing. I’m going to be an orange blossom, working together with lots of others like me to fill the streets with the sweet fragrance of Jesus. Who is with me?
For your journal: Ask God about the messiness and beauty inside of you and see what He shows you. You might ask Him whether you have a ‘bucket’ of your own, and what you do to try and fill it. What would it take for you to hand it over to Jesus and let Him fill it?
This ‘bonus’ postcard is a part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the amazing, beautiful, grace filled book that is Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!