My Messy Beautiful

A great big welcome to our guest blogger today, Amy from 4 is More!

I have never been an organized person. I thought I was, at one point, when I was a child and arranged all of the books in my room by Dewey Decimal System convention. But I had my first hint that perhaps a life of organization was not in the cards for me during my senior year in high school. I was so overwhelmed by college brochure information that I stacked (okay, not even stacked...I threw) them on the floor in my bedroom until they formed a giant avalanche of paperwork.

I have lost my keys on more occasions than I can count. I have left all of my clothes behind in a hotel closet. I have lost my birth certificate, my ID, copious amounts of cash, my checkbook, and my mind.  I have worn two shoes of different heights on different feet for the entire day. How can one person possibly be so disorganized?

I used to feel overwhelmed by my lack of organization because I truly wanted to be organized. Did I mention that I am an accountant? I love the idea of having neat handwriting, a clutter-free kitchen, a system for paperwork, and books organized by the Dewey Decimal System. But it just isn't a reality for me.

My darling children have - inherited? watched and learned by example? - my tendency to be unorganized and have begun to emulate the same. My son will wear his shirt backwards all day without noticing it. My daughter will leave her math book behind at school. On any given day, our living room floor is covered with shoes and colored pencils and random pieces of paper that have made their way to the floor rather than a recycling container.

I used to feel guilt and shame and panic over my lack of organization. I felt that we couldn't invite anyone we didn't know over to our house until our place was picked up, which was basically never. After all, if people could see what a mess I was on the outside, surely they would be able to tell what a mess I was on the inside, and that would be the end of that. I would see other people, with their put-together lives and balanced checkbooks and keys in the right place at the right time and wonder if I would ever get it together.  In case you are wondering, the answer is "no."

But do you know what? I truly believe that God has opened my eyes to seeing that there is magnificence in the mess. If nothing else, showing our inner and outer mess to the world shows others that they, too, are not alone. That relationships are more important than whatever clutter may be lying on top of surfaces. That kindness and sharing God’s love are more important than wet towels on the floor. That embracing ourselves in all of our messiness is so much more important than whatever organizational disaster may be waiting to befall us.

And moreover, being able to look past the mess opens ourselves to all kinds of possibilities. Our kitchen table is currently covered with a huge roll of butcher block paper with an imaginary scene of My Little Ponies drawn out all over it. Our basement bar is inaccessible due to the art projects that have piled up. Our living room has been turned into a giant fort with blankets and pillars galore spread out all over the ground. And when I look around, I no longer see "failure." I see our children's imagination blossoming, summer adventures happening, and a lifetime of memories being made. And do you know what? I see God’s love shining down right there. And that is a mess in which there truly is magnificence.

Amy spends her days as the world's most unorganized accountant professor, and her nights chilling with her crazy, equally unorganized family. She is blessed to be part of a wonderful church family both near and far who pushes her, challenges her, and loves her. Amy loves chocolate, reading, running, and ignoring the dishes.