Most of this past week, my son had been working on a math project that was assigned almost a month ago. Like most teenage boys, he left it until the last minute. It is also important to note that this child is a PERFECTIONIST. So, it was no surprise when he began struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control. I could sense the feeling of failure stirring inside of him. The entire house could feel it! If you have ever spent a few minutes around a teenager, you know what I mean. They have a whole bunch of big feelings swirling around inside them that change minute by minute. When they are in a panic, there is a tsunami of emotions occurring. It is not fun! In one of his pre-meltdown moments I heard him say “why do I keep messing up!”
Have you ever been so overwhelmed that all you could see was failure?
Unfortunately, I have carried the fear of failure with me most of my life. It went with me in everything I did. I mostly suffered silently with feelings of being overwhelmed. With that feeling came second guessing every decision I made and thinking that I was always messing up. Because of that, I spent most of my early life feeling as though I was failure. Watching my son self-destruct that night was scary for me. Sadly, it wasn’t the first time I have seen a part of myself in him. I wish I could change that for him, but I also know from experience that some things he will need to learn on his own.
“Why do I keep messing up!”
How many times have you thought that about yourself?
Have you ever made such a mess of something you were unsure of how to fix it?
If so, you may be encouraged by the words I spoke to my son that night. God does not create messes!
In our humanness, we can sometimes create a mess of our circumstances. I certainly have! Just like my son created his circumstance by procrastinating and trying to make things perfect in a short period of time, we too do that in our daily lives.
Here is the great news! We create the mess, but God cleans it up. It may not be in our timing, nor the way we had hoped. It may not even include the original circumstances, but He will make something that once was a mess into something good. I know this because He has cleaned up so many messes I have made in my own life. Messes made by wanting everything to be perfect, messes that came out of fear of failure and messes that have brought about hurtfulness. He cleans up every mess. He did it by giving us Jesus!
My son finished his project. It was not perfect, but the closer he got to finishing it, the less the perfection mattered. I think that is how God feels about us. The more He calls us to be who we were created to be, the less perfection matters. God doesn’t want perfect, he just wants us! Mess and all!