Love vs. the Mess

laundry basket - photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’m sitting here writing this post in the midst of absolute chaos.

There are three overflowing laundry baskets sitting on the floor just to the right of me. They have been sitting there for a few days now, full of clean laundry just waiting to be folded. To the left of me sit two garbage bags full of school pants and shorts my boys have recently outgrown—two large garbage bags that are just waiting for me to hoist them into my minivan and drive them to a donation station. About a dozen feet in front of me, a large pile of sheets lies in front of my washing machine. I know sheets are inanimate objects and don’t actually have eyes, but I can almost feel them staring at me, wondering when I’m going to get off this chair and start washing them. This is just what I see from where I sit, but I know there is more disorder hidden in other areas of my house, mocking me relentlessly, saying, “What are you waiting for? Clean us up! The school year is just around the corner!”

I feel quite messy right now. It’s not just the external mess that surrounds me either. There is an internal mess as well. Summer is almost over, and the school year is approaching rapidly. I’m navigating a to-do list a mile long while also trying to make good decisions, big decisions for myself and my family. I’m trying to balance being a good mom, a good wife, and a good employee with honoring the person God created me to be, and it’s all kind of overwhelming.

When I feel this messy—as I do every year around this time—I cycle between a deep desire to clean it all up and the miserable realization that the messy just might be here to stay.

So when I can’t clean it all up or fix it all and when the messy, disordered, and imperfect me seems to be here to stay, what do I do?

I do what Ignatian spirituality has taught me to do. I get up, and I walk outside where the physical mess temporarily cannot find me. I stand in the light of the sun, I feel its warmth upon my face, and I repeat to myself, “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. No. Matter. What.”

Over the years, Ignatian spirituality has taught me a lot about myself, the world around me, and my relationships with God and other people. But the most important thing it ever taught me was that God loves me, no matter what.

It’s so easy to forget this fact when I am surrounded or enveloped by a gigantic mess. I have to remind myself intentionally of this truth. I have to repeat it over and over again until I can feel God’s hand upon my shoulder, affirming the truth of these words.

If you are feeling a bit messy right now both inside and out, know that I am right there with you. And so is God, standing next to you in the midst of all the mess, loving you just as you are.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I am in exactly the same situation right now as described in your article. Feeling overwhelmed with the mess around me. Your sharing lifted my spirit and confidence. Is comforting to me assured that I am loved in the “mess”. Thanks & blessings

  2. Gretchen, this could not be a more perfect message at a more perfect time for me. I KNOW that God loves me and love trumps every mess of every kind. You have showed me a lovely way of DOING that knowledge to internalize it. Blessings and good cheer to you. Ann

  3. Thank you for sharing, it is indeed true that we are beloved beyond our flaws and mess. At times I too I let myself be me and clean up after some time. On the hand it is said “cleanliness is next to godliness”.. I don’t if I can say I ignore this idiom and just let myself be me.

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