Today, I went to a coffee shop I had only visited once before that’s not far from my house. I made it a point to buy a drink in a mug so that I could take in the beauty of those little flower designs they make on top out of milk. As I got settled in, I started to drink a few sips of my overflowing latte, careful not to tip it too far and wind up with a shirt full of espresso and steamed milk. As I sat my cup back down, I began typing what I thought this blog was going to be about, but as I got a few lines in, I lifted my hand up to change to a different playlist and my elbow carefully grazed my hot cup of coffee… *CRASH.* My beautifully crafted latte went tumbling off the table and splattering onto the wall beside me, leaving its mark on my backpack, computer case, Bible, and pride.
I desperately wanted to cover up my mess before anyone saw, so I went hunting for some paper napkins. I quickly noticed this was the kind of twisted establishment that kept their prized mess-cleaners behind the counter. When I asked the guy cashiering for a few paper napkins and he handed me two, I realized that my mess wasn’t the kind of thing you could cover up with a little wipe away and sit down. I had a big towel job waiting to be cleaned up, and I was going to have to spill the beans to this guy about what happened so that he could help me move the table and scrub down the, once, white walls I had now decorated with my favorite flavor.
Part of me wanted to walk out the door and leave the mess I had made behind, but even though that would mean that the mess wouldn’t have to be confronted by me, it would be left waiting for someone else to clean up.
When we damage something in our lives, the easy thing to do is walk away and act like the hurtful words were never said, the pain was never inflicted, or the sin was never acted upon; however, when we do this and the spilled milk of our lives starts to sit and bake in the sun, it gets even harder to clean up later. Messes that aren’t confronted as soon as they happen get stickier by the day and less desirable to deal with.
I think sometimes we’re so embarrassed by our short comings that we try to hide them from God and clean them up ourselves. The problem with this form of self confrontation is that we simply don’t have the means of cleaning up the messes we make. We can try to use all the dry napkins we want, but without Jesus’ wet towel, all of the grunge will never be removed from the walls of our heart. We have to be willing to be vulnerable with Jesus, the Guy behind the counter of our lives, because without His help, we’ll never truly be clean.
This morning, as the coffee shop worker and I walked together back to my table where the mess I had made was waiting, I kept apologizing for spilling my coffee and making him help me clean it up. He very kindly looked at me as we arrived at my corner table and he saw the extent of the problem and said, “Hey, it’s not a problem. This is what I’m here for, just take a seat at the next table and you’ll be good to go in just a few minutes.” These words immediately woke me up to the Father heart of God.
Do you ever feel like it’s almost an inconvenience to bring your problems to Jesus, as if He doesn’t want to hear about how you’ve most recently failed? Sometimes, I think we feel like we have to get on the floor of guilt before God will be pleased enough to help us and forgive what we’ve done. The truth is, He’s not surprised by your short comings, He’s used to the mess, and helping you become more pure and like Him is exactly what He is there for. The payment for your sins is not your own level of being sorry but Jesus’ overwhelming desire to love you through His death on the cross.
In my life, some of the biggest lies that the devil has tried to tell me is that I am alone, I am not worthy of Jesus, and that my failures define me. Those feelings that I was unworthy and messy really took a toll on the way I saw myself, and for many years, they defined my identity. I thought that if I could just be better, if I could not mess up, if I had my act together at all times, then maybe people would want me — maybe Jesus would want me.
News flash, Sparrow: Jesus never needed you to be “good,” He just wants you to be willing to let Him be good in you, to be good to other people through you. I think this perspective is what really healed me from the need to please other people, and it even mended my view of how Jesus saw me. I think it becomes so easy to view ourselves through the eyes of our shortcomings, but God views us through the lens of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. I realize now that if I am God’s vessel, I don’t need to fit anyone else’s mold.
John 8:36 reads, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” There’s no reason to beat yourself up over what you can’t control, dear Unveiled. Jesus sees your heart, and He’s so much kinder to us than we are to ourselves.
So, next time you want to hide your face from God, try seeing yourself through His eyes, through the truth; you are loved, accepted, whole, desired, chosen, and forgiven.
Go live free.