Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Why Good Friday Matters For Our Messy Hearts & Lives



I have ALWAYS had a hard time finishing ANYTHING.

I'm easily distracted, I fly by the seat of my pants, I'm a professional procrastinator, I'll get to it sometime is my life-long motto.

If it weren't for Good Friday, I'd say I'm a quitter.

Good Friday? What's that got to do with it?

I have this distinct childhood memory of my sister and I staring at the disaster that was our bedroom after being told we had to clean it up or we'd get no supper. We both flopped on our side-by-side twin beds and plotted for an hour (or hours - who was counting? We weren't.) about how we might go about cleaning the mess before us.

We wrote out our plan on little wooden chalkboards. Erased it. Then wrote a new plan when we realized Plan A would mean we'd have to get up and actually do something. Then we were so worn out from all the planning that we sat down on the floor amidst the mess and created a lavish Barbie wedding with a roll of toilet paper.

I'm sure hours passed before either of us ever gave a thought to the fact that all the planning, the chalkboard lists, and the really, really good intentions would mean the eminent banishment to our bedroom for the rest of our lives.

Sometimes I think I was just never taught. I didn't have organized parents. I didn't grow up in an organized house. When my mother said, "Clean under your bed", I threw everything in the closet. When she said, "Clean out your closet" - (worst scenario EVER for a kid who was told last week to clean under the bed), I shoved everything under the bed.

I'm a wife and mom of five kids now. But, wow - I am still that eight year-old shoving messes from one place to another. When I clean out my closet - now, as a grown-up, a mother of FIVE children - I put everything in my bedroom. If I need to clean my bedroom, everything goes back in the closet.

Mess shuffler? Does that sound right?

Sometimes I feel like I'm a prisoner of what I can't be, don't know how to be, wasn't taught to be. And in today’s world, we get to put on an instant, public, filtered, snapshot-worthy display of ALL the things we are and ALL the things that we do well. We never have to expose or allow others to see all that we are not. It's easy to share successes, right? Take pic, edit, filter, post. Repeat.

Repeat, again.

But, behind that perfect photo, we’re all full of doubts about who we really are, aren’t we? I am. I'm scared and overwhelmed by all that I'm not. I look around and see what is unfinished in my life and all that is unworthy and unwelcome about me in this Pinterest world we live in. I see the secret closets and the drawers full of yesterday, yestermonth, yesteryear. I see a mess of stuff I shuffle around in my head - things I want to do, to be, to actually complete.

But, more than ANY of that, I know the secret places in my heart. The places that are dirtier, messier, and unlovelier than any bedroom, any closet, any drawer.

Can I tell you why Good Friday matters to a messy sinner like me? Why it matters deep down - in the places that define me?

Because of Good Friday, because of the cross - when God looks at me, He doesn't see all that I am not. God sees Jesus on the cross. The one who died instead of me. The one who bore my shame, carried the messes of my heart on his beaten and bloody back, and I live free of judgment and shame because he died in my place.

When I feel like a quitter who just. can't. get. it. together, I cling to the message of hope the cross of Jesus declares for me: God gave his only son for sinners. Like me. Like you.


Because of the cross, I have THIS promise:

And I am sure of this, that he who began
a good work in you will bring it to completion
at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

God is not a quitter. He carried his own cross on his back and died for me in the most glorious finish in history. My life is his work. And, he doesn't give up.

He isn't giving up on me. He isn't giving up on you.

I may not be organized. My bedroom might be messy. And, the drawers and closets and secret places in my heart that I don't want anyone to see scream out, "You are not good enough." And you know what? I'm not.

But, the cross of Jesus is. I have God's promise - that he began something marvelous in me when he made me his, and until I fly through the ribbon at the end of my life and finish this race, I will cling to the grace and promise of knowing that I am his project, his plan, his girl.

And, He's not finished with me yet.

So as Good Friday approaches, it matters to my messy heart and life because the cross is where Jesus declared that that my sin and my failures and my “not enoughs” and the work I could NEVER do for myself no longer define me. The righteousness of Jesus is my victory cry.

He finished what I never could.

The cross for secret closets.
The cross for messy hearts.
The cross for quitters.
The cross for little girls with chalkboard plans.
The cross for mamas who can't get it together.

The cross of Jesus – the hope of Good Friday for me.
The hope of Good Friday for you.

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