Why are we all so freaked out about the errors, failures, and mess-ups in our own lives? If we read the Bible, the majority of the characters in each story were a hot mess. Look at David; he had been a murderer, adulterer and a liar. Peter was a coward, Paul was self-righteous, and Sarah laughed in the face of God.
Shall I go on?
Abraham lied about his wife, Moses murdered an Egyptian, and Jacob wrestled with God and stole his brother’s birthright, and this is the lineup that we call the (book of) Hebrews Hall of Fame! Do you understand why? Because each one of these folks turned a sexy mess into something redemptive. Each did mighty things for God. Each took what they learned from the mess (difficulty ) and turned it into ministry.
How? By becoming real with God. Each Bible character did so in their distinctive way, but each had several things in common. Many of the people I advise struggle with depression. Some feel hopeless. Many feel as though they have messed up so bad that they can not go on. They believe they are useless, insufficient, failures, not good enough–and when people actually knew them, they would be reversed.
That’s why they hide behind the carefully constructed masks they have created–so people will not see who they really are. What’s the solution? Come out of hiding. Be eager to tell your story, mess and all. Being transparent is the key to freedom. You’ll be surprised by how folks react to you once you do.
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most loved and successful women in the world — and possibly the most transparent. That’s why folks love her. A week did not go by without her struggles, particularly with food, being plastered all over TV, magazines and the Internet. People linked to Oprah’s struggle due to their own, not with weight, but with something. And that is what connected them.
That’s what connects us to one another, and to God, because in the telling of our stories, we see we are all on the same playing field. Oprah took turned her mess to a message by taking off her mask and receiving actual; during it she created something hugely redemptive. That’s what our Bible characters did. So where does this leave you? How do you learn from the ones that have gone before you? How can you turn those areas in your life which you have wanted to hit the delete button into something profoundly redemptive for the glory of God? Start by being transparent, and see what God can do with your hot mess.