Have you noticed that things are usually a bit messier in reality than they appear on social media? On social media, everything looks perfect. The guys always say and do what they ‘should’ do. The girls always look amazing, no hair out of place, wearing the perfect outfit. How is it that on social media, it seems that everyone else has a perfect life? Then you compare your life next to the images, vacations, relationships of others and it’s easy to feel like your own life is a total failure.
Once I went on a first date that went horribly. I tried hard to not to say or do anything stupid. But it seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I kept doing dumb things. We decided to go get smoothies and in my nervousness, I put the straw in the cup upside down. I sucked the smoothie out of the straw and it spilled all over my pants. Reality is often like my date, very messy. When our lives don’t look as amazing as our friend’s lives on social media we can end up disappointed and become discouraged.
Mary’s Miracle Was Messy
30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. – Luke 1:30-32 (NCV)
In the Bible, Mary had an opportunity to get discouraged. She had been told by an angel that she would give birth to the savior of the world. She might have pictured that she would give birth to the savior of the world with angels helping her through labor. They’d bring her grapes and ice chips. I’m sure she imagined that she would give birth to the savior of the world in a comfy, nice place. Instead, she gives birth to Jesus in a smelly barn next to some cows and sheep.
At that moment, I’m sure Mary was like, God where are you? This isn’t what I pictured. Have you left me here alone in this mess?
The truth was that God hasn’t left Mary alone in the mess. He was there with her the whole time, just like He’s there with you too. Just because God was doing a miracle in Mary’s life didn’t mean that it was easy or free of obstacles.
The same is true for you. God is working in your life. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re going to be exempt from problems or messy situations. What it does mean is that in the middle of the mess you’re going through, God is working. He hasn’t left you alone or without help.
You Get to Choose Your Attitude in the Mess
When you’re going through something that seems messy, it can be easy to want to get discouraged. You might ask God why is it taking so long? Or why is it so hard? Maybe you think that you’ll choose to be happy when things change. Like you’ll be happy when you grow up and get out of your parent’s house. Or that you’d be able to experience joy when your boss was nicer to you.
Even if everything is going wrong and it feels like your life is crumbling to pieces around you, one thing is true. You get to choose your attitude in the mess.
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Phil 4:12 (NIV)
Paul learned this truth. He realized that he could choose to be content no matter what was going on around him. He could do this because He realized that God was going to see Him through. Whatever was done to him, whatever was said about him, he knew that he was going to come through because God was never going to leave him.
The same is true for you. God is not going to leave you helpless and alone in your mess. He’s not going to forget you. So in the middle of chaos, you can choose to be at peace. You can’t control circumstances but you can control your attitude. You can choose to be happy.
You Can Choose Patience In Your Mess
Waiting is hard. It’s never easy to wait for the things of God to come to pass in your life. Maybe you prayed for something and you haven’t seen it happen yet. Maybe you just wish that you could be older or have less pressure on you right now. All those feelings are understandable.
Even if you wished things would change, you can use this time of waiting to practice patience. It’s a little like getting your driver’s license. It doesn’t just happen, there’s a process for getting it. First, you’ve got to get a learners permit. Then you take driver’s ed. After that, you wait until you’re 16, take a test, pay a fee, get your picture taken and then get your license. You don’t just automatically get it when you’re old enough to drive. You’ve got to be patient and go through the process.
Go Deeper: 5 Devotions About Patience
There is a lot of waiting in life. Things don’t happen automatically and often the things we pray about don’t always come to pass as quickly as we’d like. In the midst of waiting, we can use the time to practice patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing. – James 1:4 (KJ 2000 Bible)
It isn’t easy being patient when you want to see a situation or a person change. However, you can choose to use it as an opportunity to grow. Each trial you go through is an opportunity to see God build character into your life. So determine to grow from this situation and let patience perfect you.
Life can be messy. Things don’t happen like you want them to and in the timing you want them to. Regardless of how messy your miracle feels right now, know that God is working. He’s bringing your miracle to pass. So in this season of mess and waiting, choose to draw closer to God. Let God be your source of joy and peace. See God move through your mess and see your miracle come to pass!