Why an Exposed Mess is the Better Way

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Do you hate feeling vulnerable Are you afraid of someone seeing your imperfections I understand. But it's okay. Really. An exposed mess is the better way.
When your mess gets exposed, whether it is of your own making or not, it’s impossible to look good.

The painful truth is that an exposed mess leaves us open to judgment, criticism, gossip… and the list goes on. 

Talk about feeling vulnerable!

I’ve found it surprising though that an exposed life is better.

It may not feel like it right away.

But there is freedom in “getting real.” 

It is important to mention here that I am not suggesting you spill your guts with every detail of your life. In fact, to the contrary too much information is distracting. Sharing too much simply encourages either justification or judgement of your mess. Neither is helpful! 

And I’m definitely not suggesting you share anyone else’s mess. Ever. 

What do I mean by mess exposure?

For me:

  • it means accepting that I’m vulnerable. No matter how hard I try I am going to make mistakes, probably lots of them and the people around me know it. (They probably did anyway.)
  • it means that I need to go to bed each night confessing my mistakes (sins) to God . . . getting real with Him about my mess.
  • it means acknowledging my need for Jesus, because no matter how hard I try I will never be mess free.
  • it means getting up each morning knowing God is God… real, living, all-knowing, eternal, beyond my understanding, Creator and King of everything. 
  • it means trusting that I can surrender my life, my everything, to Him.
  • it means believing Him when He says He loves me – not because I am “good,” but because I am His child.

I believe there are many people just like me in the church and outside of the church. People who are afraid to expose their messes, because they’re afraid they won’t be “good” enough for God or for the church. 

Although we know we’re not “good” enough, we think appearing “good” enough is a requirement. Why? Because looking good makes us feel accepted. We want to be good enough to belong.

That’s why we love to point out BIG sins, but hate to talk about:

Quarreling. Jealousy. Anger. Selfishness. Slander. Gossip. Arrogance. Disorder.

For I am afraid that when I come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. 2 Corinthians 12:20

Do you hate feeling vulnerable Are you afraid of someone seeing your imperfections I understand. But it's okay. Really. An exposed mess is the better way...

Friends we’re messy.

[Tweet “Hurting messy people who come to our churches don’t need us to be perfect, they need us to be real.”]

They are crying out to know their messes aren’t beyond the love of Jesus. And in our churches you and I represent Him.

The best way, the only way, to represent Him is to love like Him. 

We love better when we stop comparing our messes and admit that we are messes saved by His love.

I started attending a women’s Bible Study recently. We often go around the group sharing our “Joy, Junk, and Jesus.” It’s healing to hear each woman share her struggles and the ways the Lord is working in her life. Not perfection, but grace. Strength. Hope. Courage. Love.

It’s real. It’s life. It focuses on God and the better way only He can give.

Jesus said that’s how people will know His followers.

“If you love each other, all men will know you are My followers.” John 13:35

Not by their perfection.  Not by being better than…

But by love.

Love where we help each other with and through our messes. Love that’s honest and lays down its fear of exposure.

Seriously, we’re not fooling anyone anyway.

So let’s stop faking our pretty and admit the truth. I’ll start…

I’m a mess. I need Jesus. I need you my friend to walk with me in love as I walk through the messes of my life. 

Are you with me? Are you a mess too?

Photo Credit – BossFight.co

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  1. I’m a mess made new. It took awhile to realize I was a real mess and messier than others with nothing at all to brag about.

    1. Me too Bill. I tried so hard to be perfect. Not just look perfect, but be perfect. That kept me from really taking a good look at the mess inside.

      I’ve been blessed by those who admitted they were a mess… a loved and forgiven mess. By God’s grace I’ve learned that is a better way. It gives God the glory!

  2. Oh, I’m a mess, all right! Thank goodness for the saving love and grace of Jesus! Because of Him, I’m a hopeful mess, not a hopeless one.
    Blessings, Deb!

    1. I love that Martha! I’m a hopeful mess too! Oh the blessing of amazing grace! 🙂

  3. Definitely a mess. I am messy like the wet clay that has just been thrown onto the Potter’s wheel. I love that He takes me and my mess and makes it into exactly what He wants me to be!

    1. What a great word picture Shelby. I love it! How blessed we are that He loves us and takes our messes and molds us into something that can be used for His glory. Beautiful!

  4. Clare Speer says:

    I’m a mess too! Thanks for your candor – and I do agree it’s important to be real!!!

    1. I used to tell friends at church, “what you see is what you get.” What I never admitted, even to myself, is that it was me trying desperately to be perfect. Real is better. It’s still kind and caring. It’s just not as frantic. Blessings!

  5. Deb…I loved this reminder: that our messiness is covered by the grace and mercy of Jesus. Thank you for your post. Shared on my FB page. (Fellow CBB-er.) Blessings.

    1. So thankful for His grace that covers an abundance of messiness. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings and hugs to you!

  6. But there is freedom in “getting real.” Love this post Deb. Going to post it on my facebook wall. When we try to contain our mess it only frustrates us and others who live with us. It such a clean feeling when it is exposed and the air and sun can get to it so it can heal.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Betty. I so appreciate your kind encouragement. Mess stuffing makes me miserable. Living under forgiveness and grace is breathing in wonderful! God bless you!

  7. “The best way, the only way, to represent Him is to love like Him.” Amen, Deb, amen! I believed the lie of being perfect for far too many years. The load is lighter when we’re real, when Jesus and His grace carry the weight. I must admit, though, I’m still learning to love like Jesus. It’s sometimes sticky, not always convenient. But it’s always, always, always “right on”. Love this post.

    1. I have quite a long way to go to love like Him too, Kristi. Thankful He never gives up on me. And you’re right… He always shows me that loving is always right, always a blessing. Thanks so much! I loved Joanna story. Thanks for sharing it!

  8. Alecia Simersky says:

    Oh, I’m SO with you!! I believe in letting people into my mess and being vulnerable but it doesn’t mean I don’t try to still be good enough. It’s almost like it’s ingrained in us, even though we know better.

  9. Long Ladies says:

    This is such a refreshing post to read. The church has this mistaken mindset that we can’t talk about the mistakes we make, the wrong choices we’ve made, or the sins we are currently struggling with; as if we are to be perfect because we are children of God. Yes, we, as Christians, are called to live in perfect holiness, but most of us are still undergoing that journey. It’s a struggle and I think when we admit that we have problems and are struggling it draws us closer to the genuine people who care.

    Thank you so much for writing this!

  10. I’m a mess. There I said it. Can hardly believe I’m admitting it in public but EXPOSE so I can be free. I’m a prideful mess. I let very few see me vulnerable. Needless to say its taken a recent BIG issue to bring em to my knees. Yup this mess is learning day by the day beauty in vulnerability. Quickly hitting the comment button so I don’t renege on making this confession.