By Jimmy Braddock
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything and that’s because I really haven’t felt like anything I had to share was good enough, important enough, eloquent enough, profound enough or anything enough to warrant our precious collective time and attention. I get that way a lot and, I guess, that’s the way I feel about my life in general. Stay with me! This isn’t about my lack of self esteem or inferiority complex-Those things have been addressed…Okay, still being addressed! This is about travelling through life, with all it’s peaks and valleys, and being comfortable with my screwed-uppedness (yep, my word.)
I had been dealing with several situations that were just difficult and messy. I was struggling with my ability to be an effective leader, if I was qualified to give advice, and if I was capable of dealing with anything much more complicated than a spirited game of Go-Fish. Enter the Creator of the Universe who decided to take a little time out of His somewhat busy schedule to send me, one of His problem children, a little nudge. A friend shared a Facebook status about a page called Messy Spirituality (https://www.facebook.com/MessySpirituality) and it said the 100th “Like” would receive a free book and a $5 Panera card. I had to…I Love Panera. I liked the page, thought I was the 100th, and then forgot about it. I scanned the page briefly but honestly dismissed it with a thought to return later. A few days later, a small package arrived and I hadn’t thought anymore about the giveaway. It was my Panera card and a copy of Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli. By now, we had started a diet and there was no way Julie was gonna let me have chocolate croissants from Panera. So, Keli got the gift card and I started reading the book. After I read the back cover, I realized this was all just a little plot by my crafty Father to get this book in my hands. I haven’t finished the book yet and this is not a review. I will, however, recommend it to anyone who has ever thought to themselves (or screamed at the top of their lungs) “I’m a big flippin’ mess”!
I have known since I was a little kid that Jesus loved me! How did I know? For the bible told me so and that’s the way the song went. I went through a long period thinking God didn’t want anything to do with me. Then, that Jesus may love me, but He probably didn’t like me much. I’m finally starting to accept that Jesus loves me and there ain’t nothing I can do about it. He loves me in spite of, and including, my screwed-uppedness. Actually, I think it endears me to Him.
I want so desperately to be the perfect picture of faith, spirituality and obedience! But, I fall short of my expectations-not His. I get mad at myself when I question God, when I complain, when I’m short with my wife or kids, and the list goes on. Basically, I’m upset when I screw up because I know that God deserves so much better from me. He knows how messed up I am and he expects that I’m going to screw up-frequently. I feel like I am in this perpetual cycle of brokenness and regeneration while He continues to draw me ever closer to Himself. Jesus has absolutely wrecked my life and completely shattered any ideas of who I think I am or I’m supposed to be. I am grateful beyond words for that beautiful collision of my mess and His Grace. As long as I’m confined to this body on this earth, I will never come anywhere close to that perfect picture. Guess what? I hear that still, small voice telling me that as long as I keep moving closer to Him, That’s okay! If He’s okay with my mess, I’ve got to be okay with it. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay that I don’t meet my expectations (or anyone elses) as long as I meet His. It’s okay to be a mess!!!
I have said all of this to tell you that my God is right on time. He knows what I need and when I need it. No matter how big a screw up I am, He loves me! No matter how inadequate I feel, He says I’m capable! No matter how inferior I think I am, He says I am good enough, I am adored, and I am a kid of the King! I may be a screw-up, but I know that I am His screw-up.
I’m a big flippin’ mess, but it’s a glorious mess and it’s okay!
Jimmy Braddock is husband to Julie and dad to Keli and Karis. Jimmy is the Director of Operations for Providence Home in Columbia, SC and gets to do for a living what he loves - hanging out with amazing people everyday sharing the love of Jesus while striving to be a follower of Christ and not just a fan!